When I compose one of these entries it usually takes about an hour or two. Depending. First I write the body of the text in one sitting, getting down the gist of what’s on my mind. Then I take a break. I go have a glass of seltzer water, play the piano, collect eggs or do something non-computer related so that I can be better refreshed when I next sit down to pluck and prune. My second go-round is about editing, essentially. I admit, I’ve never given much thought to what and editor really does – it seems the job is implicit in it’s title – but I’ve always suspected there was a world of real-life processes involved that I could never imagine. Just how does one edit successfully? I, now a hobbyist in the field, have a vague idea. This is the more tedious part of my process. I guess the beauty of having someone else edit your work is that they see with outside eyes, the very sort of vision I’m trying to achieve by collecting eggs before I sit down to edit. I would welcome that; just last night I passed over a redundant “in” despite several read-throughs (and having hit the publish button) which another might have found right away. For me, the text had overpowered the extra preposition. I was a little too inside the story. After I’ve nipped and tucked, and read through a time or two more for last minute fixes, I push the publish button. And it feels good. Like when all the laundry is not only folded – but put away, too. A nice feeling of completion.
Last night I must have been too inside the story. I missed something that my night-wandering mind pointed out to me. I’d said that my father in law sleeps on a desk in a windowless office. True, for years he did, but I realized that he’s spent the last few years in a new hideaway. In an effort to portray things as honestly and accurately as possible, and inspired in part by my near ex’s nasty threats about removing names and untruths from my posts, I feel I must amend last night’s entry.
My father in law owns a beautiful but dilapidated nineteenth century building on Chicago’s near west side. Once the home of some unionesque, fraternal organization (my memory says Upholsterer’s Union, but I can’t be sure that’s true) among its many rooms and hallways it has a theater on the top level and a mysterious padded room which carries the legend of being the place where straying union members would be “convinced” to behave better. (Perhaps it was just a showroom for the handiwork and craftsmanship of the group’s members.?) It’s a big structure, and it was once filled to the ceilings with obsolete computers and laboratory equipment which my father in law had culled from the university’s throw away piles in the hopes of once more putting them to good use. One could call this hording, yet I do know that he managed to find a new life for some of the items. Just not all of them. With the help of his Mexican laborers, I understand he’s managed to tidy the place up a bit, moving things around to make hallways passable and rooms more spacious. Somewhere in this labyrinth he has an office. And somewhere in the vicinity of his office, he has his camp, his nook. For the past few years this is where he’s retired to in the evenings, after seeing his wife safely to her garden apartment miles to the north in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. I’m guessing he has more of an apartment-like setup here. There’s plenty of room, plenty of refrigeration, likely a kitchen, and certainly a bathroom. It seems that this is his primary residence these days. So that brings my story up to snuff. Now I can put it to rest knowing I’ve presented the truth to the best of my knowledge, and done so in as matter a fact a way as possible. Just trying to minimize potential fallout, ya know?
So now the correction is complete. And this is where I rest, unless the story just finished evokes another yet untold. If there’s more emerging, it’s off for another cup of coffee and a pass at the piano, then it’s back to creation once again.