So I wrote a post a few days back titled "Scenes From a Home" about Paulette Adams's (www.summerlandcottagestudio.blogspot.com) beautiful, magical abode. I included pictures from her book collections, because that was one of the many facets of her home that fascinated me and told me about her personality.
Yesterday Paulette came for a visit and gifted me with two of the very books I had made mention of: "By Myself and Then Some" by Lauren Bacall and "The Trouble With Poetry" by Billy Collins. She wrapped them up in brown paper, added a splash of paint and re-wrote the titles in calligraphy. She wrapped another book, "John Scott's Treasured Volume" in wrapping paper with pens and sayings about writing on it. The card features a scene Paulette painted, and on the back it reads "To my fellow bibliophile, editing is so much easier when you know it is going to a good home."
So here's the thing about editing: it is so much more than cleaning up sentences and words. It is about seeing something in the thick of so much, that you whittle away until your vision becomes clear, concise, and apparent. You can edit a wardrobe, you can edit your closet, you can edit a collection, or you can edit magazine articles. But when in the process of editing, what happens to those things we are so quick to get rid of and throw away? What of all those words I have deleted? Are they wasted, spent, or do they stand on their own ready and waiting for another time to be used? Who would ever wonder about the deletion of a comma, an exclamation point; clothes can be passed down; items can be sold; but the true art of editing, is when you want to get rid of something and know full well that someone else will cherish it more. So Paulette has edited beautifully and given me the best gift: the gift of literature. The "Treasured Volume" she wrapped up for me is really a collection of several poets and pieces. I thought it so appropriate that it read "Our poets legacy ... a gift of love" on the cover.
Thanks Paulette, as this was a true gift of love. I have placed these volumes in my book case so that I may read them, and so that the next time I have company, someone may be able to get a glimpse of my story.
When I moved out on my own I had to edit my book collection. I left so many wonderful pages at my father's house. So it is especially telling to look at the pieces I took with me; the books I could not have lived without. When things aren't going well and I need to hear comforting words I still go back to my bookshelf, and open these works trusting that the right words will find me and bring me peace. Because after all, these great works were all authored by great hands who not only wrote, but edited with love; so that only the right words, the perfect sentiments remained, ready for the taking and reading years down the line.