And What Does the Swedish Chef Say When He's Stressed?

"Work work work!"

Which is me also these days. Two novels still being line-edited that are due to copyediting by the end of March; four conference presentations to write; twenty critiques to prep; one article to finish; and that's on top of the daily responsibilities of my job and the other mss. waiting their turns for editing or reading. The good news is that I have a decent first draft of the article done, and a fairly organized plan of attack for everything else in my mind, but if you don't get an e-mail back from me or something, it's really, really, really not personal.

(SQUIDs will continue to be a bit delayed under the current regime, I'm afraid. But I'm keeping up with my agented reading.)

The also good news is that I love the work, especially the line-editing. When I told one of the authors whose novels are on my desk "This is the fun part," she gave me an extremely dubious look, which I understand; but this really is the most fun part of the editorial process for me: looking at how all those words become sentences and sentences become paragraphs and paragraphs become scenes and do-we-need-this? and but-on-page-87 and what-about-. . . and love-this, over and over, till all those things work together to take on their sharpest, clearest, richest meaning -- or they will once the author responds. It is like I am having a very intense conversation with both the manuscript and the author through the manuscript, and as I adore both author and manuscript, it's almost like an affair. (Or what I imagine a really good affair is like.) "Mechanic's delight," as Brian Doyle said. I don't get a charge out of writing, really -- I like blogging, sharing neat things and odd thoughts with the aether, but fiction-writing is far more curiosity than compulsion for me. But I get my PaperMate mechanical pencil in hand, an eraser and 1.5" Post-Its by my side, and a good ms. on my clipboard, and I am a happy girl.

Clearly all this work is addling my brain. Or else I've got a strange disorder in which line-editing causes dopamine surges or somesuch. Nonetheless -- back to it.