I found myself caught in words again, not the words of education or of over-thought but words and words and words and words. I revisited old stories from weeks, months, and even a year ago. They weren’t polished words, they were the words of a different me, they were words caught in the crevices of who I am and was. They didn’t make me sad; they reminded me, again, why I write. So, I pulled these words out and began to edit and polish. I laughed at errors, saying “how couldn’t you see such an easy mistake?” But maybe this is the thing about writing, maybe the mistakes hide, covering their small faces so we can flow, move, and believe that we are the makers of fire. Maybe it is only after the passion of the touch on the keyboard and the tastes of the words on our lonely tongues has faded that we can meet the words again, and see them as beautiful but imperfect—and wonderful just as they are. I long to share my stories but I understand they need time to breathe.
When words have lived in the redolent spaces where words go to become their better selves, do I pull them out an edit? I have edited. I have not edited. There is line, I believe there is a line when we writers must stop and let the work be the work, however, where is the line? I can easily see the little flashing errors, the missing comma, the missing word, and the missing emotion, when I reread old work, but the story stands; its structure and lyric remains. So, I ask you, I need to know, are stories in danger of over watering?
I wish I could ask writers—ancient writers, old writers, new writers, and those writers who I have yet to discover—if they knew when the story was the story. I understand that I need my round characters, my flat characters (I believe these add to the narrative as well), my “thisness,” and my thatness, I understand I need to discover it all before I the story is finished. However, I also know me, the me of words, and my recent discovery of old stories has made me question. The question is: if I place these stories away again, if I let them sit and breathe a little longer, will I discover beautiful words when I pull them out? Or will I see the missing comma? Does it matter? Yes and no.