I’ve just started reading Helen Garner’s True Stories. In the preamble to the collection she talks about her early days as a feature writer, and the sub-editor.
It’s gratifying and a relief to realise that sub-editors are dingbats whoever you are. I laughed out loud at an anecdote of a friend of hers, who called and said, “Did you see what they did to my story? (he said in a choking voice) I’ve just smashed the toaster with a hammer!”
Apparently a sub-editor’s sole responsibility is to make your story as dumbed-down as possible. I’m thinking that if we redefined the sub-editor’s role, two things might happen.
1. The public might get smarter.
2. The us and them mentality of the intellectuals and the masses might disappear.
As a happy and 3rd side effect, I might be inspired again to submit something to a paper for publication. As it is, and in wont with common writer experience, I’ll just have to suck it up, write something that I love, send it, watch it get slaughtered, and carry on.
Luckily, there are people I like and admire as writers who are doing just that, writing about their experience of it and sharing it so people like me can do just that. Thank you Helen, you have inspired me to attempt again.