On Revisions

The patient is still cut open on the table, so I should not be taking the time to write this, but here I am.

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You guys, revisions. Are a thing. A whole thing. At first I poked and prodded and tiptoed through my manuscript, not wanting to make any big incisions for fear of breaking the whole thing irreparably.

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And then I remembered that nothing is irreparable. I mean, I literally have saved versions of the completed manuscript in multiple places. It’s not like this is a handwritten copy that I am taking scissors to. Microsoft Word even has a handy “undo” button!

I realized all of this, and then I still was too scared to make any real cuts.

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Because this thing? It’s my baby. On the operating table. It’s two years of my life, of my sweat and blood and words, and I have to open it up and rearrange its organs and hope that when I finally close it back up, it will still be alive.

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But it’s open now. I made the cut. It’s sliced and diced and I am literally standing with its innards dripping from my fingers and kidneys and a liver and, most importantly, the heart sitting out on the table beside me. (Okay, not literally. Not at all literally.) I am doing some repair work on these pieces outside of the body, and then I’m hoping when I put them in, the kidneys will… do whatever kidneys do, and the liver will… process alcohol or whatever, and the heart! The heart needs to beat. That is the most important part. This story can live without its kidneys but it can’t live without its heart.

(I am riding this metaphor to the bitter end.)

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My deadline is fast approaching. It’s a busy time of year at my day job, in the world of numbers, so I am splitting my time between the numbers and the words with little time for anything else in between.

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But I have my eye on the prize. And the prize is making this baby of mine the best baby it can be before I send it out into the world. Wait, I need to improve the baby metaphor. Is it growing up over the course of its operation? Is the operation making it mature enough to go out into the world without me? Or am I just sending an infant away?

If I explore this too deeply, this post will never end and I will never get back to work on that heart sitting on my operating table. So… let’s just pretend all of my metaphors came together flawlessly, okay?

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“That’s the magic of revisions – every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.”

– Kelly Barnhill

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