Over a long and caffeine-fuelled breakfast with Hamburg-based painter Miwa Ogasawara
, so thin and elegant that I can’t work out where her deep laughter comes from, I ask whether anyone – a gallery owner, for example – ever suggests that she add a bit more blue to one corner of a painting.
Another peal of that wonderful hearty sound fills my dining room, for a moment lifting the gloom of a grey German morning. Miwa, I realise, is so alive
that her body simply can’t contain her laughter. ‘No,’ she says, still laughing, ‘that doesn’t happen to painters.’
It strikes me that I almost never hear a writer say anything other than ‘I have a great editor’ or ‘My editor made my book much better.’ No wonder I dislike author interviews.
Helen DeWitt has a terrific post on Cormac McCarthy and the semicolon, which obliquely throws some light onto this editing business.
My brain often feels like a lump of iron, but I love the way one little glittery bit of information seems to attract the next, and then the next, just when you need them. Synchronicity or coincidence? I’m not sure I care, but henceforth I’m going to write more of these ‘found’ posts: how exhilarating if the computer screen could be like one of Joseph Cornell’s boxes.
Helen DeWitt has added some further thoughts
about her editor, which in all fairness I need to indicate here lest I give you the wrong impression that my skepticism about editors is hers. It’s good to know just how committed her editor was to The Last Samurai
, a book which I hope many of you will read and which I’ve just discovered to my horror appears to be out of print.
I’m not particularly interested in having an editor, but that is my own quirk. I do realise that most people who publish online want, in their heart of hearts, to be published conventionally. Call me eccentric or mad: you won’t be the first.