When in Rome

Ah, Comrades! It's going to be a truly lovely year. What did I do this weekend? Why, I endured an epically uncomfortable seat for the pleasure of watching Tannhauser "just like the Ancients!"

It was amazing. You could see stars. (Of course, when I'm not in New Hampshire, 70% of the constellations I see are 'Orion's Belt', but never mind that).

The conductor was delightful. Let's hear it for the Ankara Devlet orchestra.

There was a minstrel singing battle. To the death, guys. To. The. Death. And please note: they all twirled their capes like they were to the manner born. Or perhaps, to the manor born. I've always wondered about that. In this case, both work. It was way regal ... she said with just the faintest touch of irony.

And poor Venus was a demon, with ghoulish minion nymphs capering about all excessively limber.

 Spoiler alert: Chaste Elisabeth dies at the end. Her soul leaked out with all the fervent prayer. Some of those pilgrims may or may not be horribly, blasphemously, jealous.

And on that note, a small burst of vaguely impotent moral indignation from the editor's corner. Get your compassion hats on!

This happens a lot: an author asks me a reasonably thoughtful question about my methods and I respond in kind with a note about the balance required in order to edit both for the author and for the reader, what I've found works best for the kind of writing the author is doing.

Aaand the answer, always, is a variation on a theme: "I had no idea how tricky editing could be!" and then something, always, about how it seems like every author should have an editor each for internal integrity, stylistic coherence, readability, and every conceivable audience.

Perhaps, you generously say, the author thinks this is a compliment. But do you know what this says to your editor? "Editing is not a profession; it's certainly not something that requires any particular skill or talent. I have no idea what you get paid to do, but I certainly had no idea that you earned it."

And all the effort that I put into trying to make sure that my simmering rage isn't dumped in your lap gives me an ulcer.

Please don't do that. Basic etiquette: pass it on. Teach your children. Imagine a new world, a better world.

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