In collaborative print

If you followed this entry’s link a while back, you might find it interesting to look here. My sermon-type essay worked for Gutenberg’s monthly News & Views letter, and it will be available online until April.

Robby Julian (yes, she’s Erin’s mom; I’m getting the whole family in here) is N & V’s editor. She could have made her successful way in one of New York’s publishing houses, I’m sure, if her life had been so designed. Thankfully for Gutenberg, some local homeschoolers and myself, Robby has used her talents to teach and faithfully order the written words of others (she has also written articles and poetry).

After Robby asked to use my article, I mulled over her request for hours – NOT. I replied immediately in the affirmative. Then Robby edited, making my piece a bit more academic and definitely more readable.

Next she asked if there were any more I could say, seeing as space remained if I needed it (a rare request; usually editors ever only want you to cut some more). I expressed a desire to follow up on a paragraph near the beginning:

But, you may ask, is a lifetime spent just believing good enough to warrant eternal life? Is someone who repeats the mantra, “I believe, I believe,” being simple, like a character from Peter Pan trying to keep fairies from falling down dead? How can such a faith bring about change in our world? Where is my love for others when I focus on making my mind do this “weird” thing? And who really cares what I believe, as long as my actions show that I am kind, merciful, and just?

I wasn’t sure how to bring those musings back into things near the end and answer my questions aptly. Robby suggested I try. My attempt helped add a bit more, but it still lacked something. Robby (tactfully) emailed her own idea:

So then, a life spent “just believing” describes a person faced into reality, not fairytales. It describes a person God is changing on the inside so that real changes happen (over time) on the outside. It describes a person who, by the grace of God, is learning (over time) to be truly loving, kind, merciful, and just to others. A life spent believing describes a child of God.

It was perfect. The words I wanted but couldn’t access. I learned from reading my own article.

This phenomenon is not new, for me, anyway. Editors augment a writer’s work with much hard work of their own. In the big, wide world, they’re not often recognized. While reading, I fail to think about them except when becoming convinced an article or book lacked editorial guidance. Which is really collaboration. Which I’m grateful for when it’s well done. Thanks, Robby.


Robby said…
You're welcome, Deanna. And thank you. I enjoyed the whole process. By the way, this is my FIRST blog response.
Deanna said…
I am indeed honored.