The natural world has a way of dealing with trash. Gardeners call it composting. Green warriors call it recycling. Publishers call it pulping. Writers call it so many different things, I can only list the a few of those I’ve heard recently: material, research, edited cuts, bits.
What’s your way of dealing with the parts of your work that don’t work? What do you call your prunings?
I’ve spent the past few days of sun and wind in my postage stamp of a terraced garden. My compost bin has been emptied and strewn across the flowerbeds, enriching the thin layer of soil, feeding the shrubs, covering up the recycled material of my neighbor’s cat. All of the cuttings, vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, spent tea and discarded weeds had been processed by thousands of industrious worms to make a fine contribution to over-planted beds, exhausted by the needs of a grown-from-seed Braeburn apple tree.
The beauty of compost is the cycle of life. Birth, growth, procreation, death and decay, nourishment – you get the picture. All that stinking mess becomes the flower that becomes the fruit which in turn attracts the neighbor’s cat.
If only the process of revision and editing were as fruitful…