Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Editing the truth
I've been thinking a lot about editing lately. Probably as the result of the recent publishing conference I attended. And because I have been an editor and experienced bad editors – those who wish to replace the writer's voice with their own. I like to think of myself as a gentle editor with others, preserving the voice and only helping to let it shine more clearly. In a sense, I guess it was some of my early nurture work.
But what's really been on my heart was the young woman who argued in a workshop that she felt the poetry from her journal did not need editing and the room overwhelmingly said it always needs editing. I leaned over and whispered to her: "Don't listen."
We had a brief conversation after as I had wanted to raise the same issue, but was not so bold. Maybe because it didn't feel safe. When this young woman, on the first full day of the conference, asked someone where they felt something in their body, I knew we were heart people, not heads. Another time she talked of the importance of embodiment.
At the open-mic session, she did read and what she had written was so very clearly from her heart and not in need of any change, just another heart to listen.
After this conference, I am struggling with the book(s) I want to publish as they include some of my journal entries, which I feel were written from my heart in the moment and, often, wisdom from the Source (God, Spirit ... whatever word speaks to you). When I re-read them, I have no urge to mess with them. The introduction and explanatory sections I have edited many times, but not the journal entries. They come from somewhere bigger than myself and arrived when I was in a very still and prayerful place. I'm sure they won't speak to everyone and maybe not many. But that isn't the point. Trusting in what feels like a gift is – to me.
Several new books announced or previewed at this conference were the journals of Quakers no longer with us. And, I can't imagine the actual journal entries of someone like Elias Hicks, for instance, being changed today. Maybe footnoted or explanation added, but not altered. I could be wrong.
So why is there another standard for those now journaling? I am not talking about event recording, but soul discovery and writing our hearts.
When we edit our hearts, we stray farther from the truth.
• What happens when I don't edit myself?
• ... When I trust my openness and truth that arise?
• What glimpses has that trust provided?
• What have I lost when I didn't trust?
• How do I "put it out there" even in the face of misunderstanding?
It was a
but it is