Saturday, February 13, 2010


“Who knows what fantasy lurks in the minds of middle aged (Yes, I do plan on living to be 114. Thanks for asking.) aspiring writers everywhere? The Phantom Editor does!”
(Original source -

Yes, fans it’s that time of year again (see this post entry). Actually the Phantom Editor, rather than waiting til spring, virtually helped me ring in the New Year with the promise of yet another imminent publishing date…There were just a few questions she had for me.

She did not ask me again what the purpose of life is, and for this I am grateful. Instead she wanted permission to omit certain statements which, she said, had been mentioned by others (whose fabulous lives really show their claims to be inarguable facts). She assured me that the new ending will make my story stronger and give it more impact and I have to agree.

But the choice of subject matter under review and her timing was impeccable. How could she know that, contrary to my article’s original conclusion, I am feeling slightly discontented with my place in the world and that I am not as comfortable in my own skin as I claimed when I first wrote the piece? It’s uncanny and creepy. I’m beginning to feel like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind; like the universe itself is asking me a big, “Are ya sure?”

Universe/Phantom Editor: “Are ya sure you feel content with your place in the world?”

Me: “Well no I’m not, at least not at the moment. I’m just a little off right now, but I’m sure I’ll come around soon.”

Universe/Phantom Editor: “But, you don’t feel 100% content right now, so your statement - how do you put it - “feeling content with my place in the world” isn’t in fact true. Is it?”

Me: “O.K. you’re right. But by the time this thing gets published I probably will be... No, I’m sure I will be.”

Universe/Phantom Editor: “Now, now sarcasm won’t help the matter. Let’s focus on the present, shall we? We’ll just strike that comment. Moving on now, you don’t really feel comfortable in your own skin either, do you?”

Me: “Who have you been speaking to? How do you know that? Not now. It’s a lot less firm than when I first wrote the article so I’m still adjusting ...”

Universe/Phantom Editor: tsk, tsk, tsk, “Excuses, excuses, that just won’t do, we’ll just omit that one too, shall we?” And I imagine someone dragging with relish, a big, black, indelible ink marker through the words I’d so carefully crafted and believed so deeply way back when.

Am I really communicating via e-mail, talking about an article first penned over 5 years ago about an experience I had when I was 16, with someone else or is it just a projection of my own mind?

I’m sure Rod’s beginning to think the latter and when he does indulge me in the possibility that she actually exists he’s sure she’s got some kind of seasonal thing like SAD that makes her play out the role of an obsessive editor of a book just ready to be published around this time of year.

Whatever’s going on, the surreal quality of the publishing world is freaking me out.

I do have reason to believe that she exists. In June of 2007 I was notified by e-mail that an article I’d submitted to a magazine in 2005 (and given up for dead) had been revived and had been published in their July issue. If I would give them my address they would send me a copy. I found this hard to believe as after months of work and enthusiastic, furious correspondence back and forth in early 2005, I never heard another word from them til that very day. So doubtful was I of the claim that I told no one about it til the magazine was in my hand and the check was in the bank.

And, I had set a goal to get a book published in my 57th year. It was supposed to be my book, not a piece in an anthology, but that’s close enough, so I am psyched up to believe.

But next year...well, that’s going to be a different story.

“The seed of desire bears bitter fruit. Desire does not pay…The Phantom Editor knows!”
(Original Source

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