Editing WOLF/catherine has become intense and fills me daily with dread. A week or so ago I felt really great about what I was doing. Looking over the edits I found myself reading like an innocent reader. I could enjoy the prose and later pat myself on the back for being creative enough to come up with such an interesting story. I've been told that my writing is beautiful, but I never see it that way, and as much as I like reading my own work, I always wish to be more poetic. Though his influence only goes so far, F Scott Fitzgerald's ghost almost always hovers about me. He is an ideal in beautiful prose. Should I always try to make the words beautiful? I don't know. There's something in (my own) prose that I see. I call it beauty, if I do it right. It might not actually be beautiful, but when the writing has reached that point, I know I have done something. All of this is to say that lately re-reading the edited version has been devoid of beauty. I wrote to my teacher Miranda Mellis. I wasn't feeling as anxious as I am now, yet she still offered great advice. Walk away. Even if for a day, week, etc. Re-see the work and then go back to editing. I don't know if I can actually do that practically. I think I would feel worse not doing anything for a week, but I can at least separate myself from the dread. I can edit as I have been but leave the over-critical portion of my mind out of it. Once I've gone through this 3rd round of edits I can then look back over all the parts which I know aren't good enough. I can hold them in my hand, and I can actively set them back down. Walk away from them. Return days or weeks later and make them better.
I've just realized the comicality of this entire situation. What I'm talking about only amounts to probably 20 pages of work which are causing me these problems. Though it may go deeper than that. A fear that I cannot make them better. That I'm incapable as a writer to improve. I can't believe that.