Paper work

the red fileI’ve tried to cram the last two years into this one red document box.

That’s an exaggeration, of course, but only slightly.

Last week, I had at least three stacks of paper sitting on my desk and on the bookshelf in my room. They were all the manuscripts with written feedback I’ve received from fellow creative writing graduate students in the various workshops I’ve taken at UBC. All of the stories, graphic novel projects, radio scripts, and novel excerpts that my colleagues read, considered, dismantled, and sifted through. And their thoughts on how I might make them better.

There was no way I was going to be able to squeeze all of these stacks of paper into the three suitcases I’m packing with stuff to take home after graduate school. As it is, I’m rapidly shedding belongings—books, clothes, household items—and leaving with only what is, I hope, essential.

What that means for those stacks of paper is that I’ve been transcribing everyone’s comments as tracked changes into the Word files, and saving the last page of written comments that they (usually) included with their markups. What’s interesting about this is that it’s got me looking at their advice in a different way from how I’d viewed it before. Since I’m transferring everyone’s notes into one file, I’m starting to note the places where multiple people commented on the same issues. I’m seeing more clearly where they were thrown off by the same things. You see that and think, “Hmm, maybe that is a problem.”

Of course, I’m also coming across comments like “Mona is awful” from one reader and “I LOVE Mona!” from another. So, one’s mileage may vary.

I’m out of here in four days. It’s finally getting real.