Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I just received edit notes from Amy, my agent, and I am reminded of the summer I spent detasselling corn in Iowa. In college, I once had the unenviable job of detasselling corn. The tassel of the corn is that yellow plume sticking out of the top of the corn stalk, and for some reason that I cannot remember (either it offended the farmer or had something to do with cross-pollination) the tassels had to be pulled off the stalk. They used to hire college students (and maybe still do) to walk down the rows of corn and pop those tassels out. You didn't get paid unless you pulled something like 98 percent of all the tassels in your row. I thought this would a simple gig. I conscientiously plucked tassels for an entire hot, Iowa-summer day and then went home to have a beer and await my pay check. Instead I got a call to return and pluck more tassels out of a row of corn that I was certain would have no more tassels. Turns out, there were more tassels--tassels that I swear were not there the day before. I went down the row once again and pulled all the tassels. Confident that I had thoroughly detasselled every stalk, I went home; I waited, and again I got that dreaded call. There were more tassels in my row.

The edits for my manuscript THE LIFE WE BURY remind me of those tassels. Even though I had line edited that work to death, I received edits from my agent where she found errors that I swear weren't there before--missing quote marks, missing commas, and a few run-on sentences. Instead of depressing me (like the tassels did), this makes me happy. My agent has given my work the scrubbing it needed. I cannot tell you how impressed I am. Thanks Amy. Now back to work on those tassels...I mean edits.

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