4/25/2012

One hour of editing

2:33 pm

Over 1,600 words of notes from a court case. It's a mess, transcribed from chicken scratch notes. I don't have a recording of the hearing, but I jotted down paragraphs that make sense independently. But, I have to get through them and give it a narrative.

The process must be completed in an hour because I have to work my second job tonight, a catering gig located elsewhere on the mall. This is how I help pay for my child support.

I'm distracted by the sunny day outside. I want to run in order to get my mind off a zombie relationship that keeps rising from the dead for brief awakenings that give me hope of happiness. I travel there, have a good time, but then when I get home I'm back to the solitude and the loneliness.

A track by the German band Can plays in my headphones. On my other screen, the words await me to give them shape, to give them life so people can know what happened in that court room.

I have my lede paragraph written. That's about it. I'm not sure what comes next. It's like a gigantic game of filing, this writing business. I always seem to manage to win the game, but some levels are harder.

In this case I do not have the source material to draw from. I just have my notes and the knowledge I've gathered in five years of covering this particular topic. But for some reason I've been staring at these 1,600 words again and again. They form sticky sections of oatmeal on a liquid wall.  I must force myself to concentrate.

*

3:06 pm


1,330 words. Can is playing in my ear, and this is helping me a little, but I got distracted by cute pictures for a minute. I took away from things I was hoping to come up with, and there's somewhat of a narrative now. I know most of the pieces are in place, but this story won't yet be understandable to people. I hope I'm not disturbing my co-workers by tapping my foot incessantly.

The day looks gorgeous. I would like to be running outside. I would like to be doing pretty much anything that isn't this story. I have to show up on the site of the catering gig in less than an hour and a half.

So, one more pass through the story.

*

3:13 pm

Panic setting in. That's when I work best.

*

3:21 pm


In better shape. 1,102 and the first six paragraphs make sense. I don't write about legal hearings a lot, so I don't really have a formula to work with.  Besides, Achewood is funny.

*
3:32 pm

886 words and we have cohesion. In 58 minutes, I need to be putting up tables and chairs. Right now, though, I'm enjoying the thrill of having to get this. I'm dancing in my chair to the rhythm of Can and the joy of narrative. I'm going to turn this piece in in 15 minutes.

*

3:34 pm


834 words. And it seems to make sense. I'll do a final read-through after I type this paragraph. I'll see if the story makes sense to others, and if I have all the background in place to give the reader an understanding of what's happened.

*

3:51 pm


Sent to my boss. 39 minutes to go. In a minute I head up to retrieve my black shirt rather than the white wrinkled one I'm currently wearing. I am hopeful I can get the story back quickly. Then I can go to work again.




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