With each passing second, it seems the web swells with advice for emerging writers on how to hone their craft, but what about for editors such as myself, those coming off their L Plates? Amid the din of social media and blogs, where are all the ‘show, don’t tell’ dictums and ‘how-to’ columns for my chosen discipline? The central challenge for me as an editor is how best to inhabit someone else’s story, to enact minor and major changes while keeping my voice from creeping through, ensuring my handiwork remains hidden.
My friend, I’ve come to the conclusion, is selfish. She has a new boyfriend. They spend all day in my friend’s room. I hear the vibration of their voices through the wall. Laughter mostly and sometimes sounds I wish I didn’t hear. Before her boyfriend, my friend was depressed. It used to be me who would lie next to her in bed. I would tell her jokes to make her laugh and stories about all the bad luck I’ve had with men.
I wake to the unmistakable sound of a man urinating. I must have kicked off the blankets during the night, and when I roll onto the empty side of the bed I see that my bedroom door is wide open. I think about the man whose stream I can hear subsiding, who is probably shaking his penis and leaving coin-sized drips on the bathroom floor and I wonder what my life would be like if I were to marry him.
At her Urban Beekeeper’s Group, Michael Isthmus had quite a reputation as a ‘botherer’. Swimming against a tide of popular support for the bees, he’d been diligently policing the New York City Council’s ban on city beekeeping for the past five years. He was charged with the job of monitoring hundreds of covert beekeepers who were establishing hives all over the city.
Two girls with swollen bellies are comparing stretch marks in the girl’s bathroom mirror. It looks as if kittens have clawed out of their insides. ‘Almond oil is fucken useless, man,’ one girl complains. ‘I’ve got three more today,’ her friend replies, scratching at her skin distastefully. ‘Yeah, but you’re tan so can’t see them. I look like a white tiger.’