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A little tea, a little chat

I've been a compulsive reader, writer and theatre goer all my life. My book blog is here: http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/ Mostly food at the moment but also knitting is here: http://cathyingeneva.wordpress.com/

Currently reading

Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism
Sheldon S. Wolin
The Temptation of Saint Anthony
Gustave Flaubert
Nebula Award Stories 3
Harlan Ellison, Gary Wright, Samuel R. Delany, Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny, J.G. Ballard, Anne McCaffrey
Cosmology and Controversy: The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe
Helge Kragh
Max Frisch

Grandpapa in dreamland

Grandpapa in dreamland - Paul Depasquale How many children have a book written about them, where they are actually in the book, and a book about fairies no less.

I loved this book when I was little - my father wrote it. But it was only recently that I reread it. To my surprise it contained quite a few words that seemed rather adult for a children's book. I commented to my father that I must have had rather a good vocabulary for my age and it reminded him that when it was written he sent it to Penguin who rapidly agreed to publish it under their children's arm, I think called Puffin. They did, however, consider that the vocab here and there was inappropriate for the age group and asked that he revise it accordingly. He refused. That 'This is my work and it cannot be tampered with' sort of attitude one can have as a writer.

Honestly. What twaddle, I thought to myself. You write, you submit, it is no longer yours any more. Remove yourself from it!!

And yet, last year I agreed to write a second edition of a book I wrote in the early nineties. It's commissioned and the person at the head of the organisation paying me suggested I should have an editor. 'An editor?!' was my instant reaction. What an appalling idea. I can't have people tampering like that. I don't know if I partly had this idea because I do a lot of editing myself and feel self-sufficient. But eventually I came around to the idea that it was obviously a good idea.

Moral of the story: if you are a writer, be prepared to release up to others this thing you have created. Don't let your sense of proprietorship be more important than what is practical. Your whole career might depend upon it. My father twice went through this process with publishers when he was young, being difficult to deal with, being principled in some way that was quite wrong. Principles can do that, they aren't necessarily to be relied upon.