The edit continues. Hard to give a status update; it seems like I’m moving more quickly through the book but not actually getting all that much accomplished with it. I try to deal with the notes I left to myself in the draft, but I feel like I end up only leaving more notes for further future mes to deal with.
That said, occasionally the notes I left to myself back then brighten my day here in the present. I came across one yesterday that made absolutely not one stonking bit of sense. “Nope, but good try.” Stuck in amidst a not particularly compelling bit of dialogue, not referencing anything in particular, certainly not communicating any sort of useful message, it lurks there in the margin, taunting me, daring me to puzzle out what it means and what it’s doing there, like a cat turd on the kitchen countertop.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts about the edit how time especially is an issue that vexed me in the draft, and continues to vex me in the edit. Time is so crucial to the plot of this thing and it is so often referenced that nailing down the times that things start and end, and the times during which things are happening in the background, has become one of my primary giants to slay. My Past Me’s notes to my Present Self grew more and more frantic from about one-third of the way into the book right up until the end, but today something different happened. Rather, I found something different which happened several months ago. The note was actually in the text itself.
Characters are arguing. Things are happening. And there, jammed into the story like one discolored brick in a mosaic, is a note to myself lurking with the story itself.
“His agent met him out front with a haggard look on his face: it was, after all, nearly midnight on a Whaturday.”
Not italicized, not asterisk’d or otherwise cordoned off like any self-respecting note; just there, hands on its hips, tongue sticking out, thumbing its nose at me. With its third hand. (I don’t know, it’s a word, it doesn’t even have hands.) At least I remembered to capitalize it. I can picture my Past Self typing furiously away, realizing I was about to have to remember what day it was supposed to be in this tangle of time and deadlines, then saying, “Fargo it, it’s a Whaturday.”
It cracked me up when I stumbled upon it because I can recall the frustration I was feeling and the complete lack of fargos I gave about trying to sort out the problem at the time. But I wonder if I didn’t accidentally name a thing that needs naming. These last few days, with my wife and kids out of town, with the regular punctuation of the day scattered to the winds, one day feels very much like another. Is it Tuesday? Thursday? Monday? Does it matter? What day is it? Whaturday.
This goes doubly for the summer, when as a teacher, I don’t even have a regular work schedule to anchor my time. The summer becomes one long unbroken string of Whaturdays.
Then I take that last step too far, start really breaking down the word itself, and realize that it’s got the word “turd” right there, unavoidable and undeniable, as turds always are. And turds are always funny. Well, the word is. Turd. Word. Wordturd.
God, editing a book is hard. Please let this Whaturday be over soon.