Monday, January 21, 2013

I Locked Myself Away Until It Was Done

So I think I could rank last week as one of the least fun I've ever had. I spent nearly all of it editing the memoir of Sy Richardson, character actor, after he contacted me, asking if I knew any editors that could do it for him and not charge him like they were agents taking commission (my phrasing, not his). I sent him my resume and he hired me!

His manuscript wasn't the torture I'm talking about. He's got quite a story to tell. It's just that when you go line by line and go deep into a sentence, to take care of punctuation and grammar and sometimes the way a sentence reads, you do lose sight of the rest of the book. You have a vague idea of what the book's about, what the author's after, but each sentence becomes its own valley and the pages crawl, because that's the thorough job an editor's supposed to do. I hope I did. I have to make one more pass at it tomorrow, to be sure I've edited all that's necessary and to gather my suggestions for what should be added, especially more about his guest-starring roles on Cheers and Wings.

The last time I did anything as extensive as this in words was when I wrote reviews for Screen It!, and those reviews sometimes took as long as this editing job did, or at least it felt like it. But I know that no matter how tedious it sometimes felt, I got to learn more about how he was hired for Pushing Daisies, and his role in Repo Man, and how genuinely nice Tom Hanks is, by what he did for the cast of Larry Crowne during filming.

But the editing wasn't entirely part of how taxing the week felt. While I was editing, the forms I had to fill out and sign, and the training I had to do for the substitute services department in the Clark County School District in order to be brought on as a support staff substitute so I can eventually apply to be a full-time elementary school library assistant, were sitting heavily on me, nearly crushing me. They have to be in no later than a week from today, otherwise my file will be destroyed two days later and I'd have to start the application process all over again. Every day that I would edit, because I wanted to read more about Sy's life, I'd have it weighing on me that I also had to get those forms done and the training done and go to the Substitute Services office to hand it all in. I'm going in person. No one's going to tell me that something's missing after I've handed it to them right there.

Today, I got it all done. I filled out the forms, I went through what must have been well over two hours of online training, and I printed out the applicable certificates at the end of the session, showing that I passed everything. Tomorrow afternoon, Dad's going to take me to the district offices and I'm going to give them all the forms and the certificates. After that, I wait. They check that I did everything and then once the background check is complete and they're satisfied, they'll send me an e-mail giving me details of when and where to go for my half-day orientation for substitutes, for which I'll only be paid after I complete my first day of work, wherever that might be.

How to celebrate? I don't do Snoopy dances. And the bigger celebration is reserved for when I get that full-time job. I know! I've got a few movies in my Amazon video library that I rented, that I still haven't watched yet, that are nearly all expiring later this week, save for Littlerock and Beasts of the Southern Wild, which expire next week. I don't want my money to go to waste, and fortunately, A Bird of the Air, The Village Barbershop, and On the Bowery are 7-day rentals, which begin when I activate them. Littlerock is a three-day rental, Goats is a 48-hour rental, and Beasts of the Southern Wild gives 24 hours.

I'll start with A Bird of the Air, even though I haven't read The Loop by Joe Coomer, one of my favorite novels, again, as that's what's A Bird of the Air is based upon. However, I do remember a great deal about The Loop after that first reading (yes, it became a favorite after just one reading), so it'll be fun to compare and observe what the movie changes around or compresses or doesn't use. I don't expect the movie of any book to be slavish to the book. I'll be happy if they get the tone right. That's all that matters to me.

Time to celebrate. I'm relieved, and I finally feel more relaxed for the first time in a week. I have to remember this when I embark on whatever writing project is next. Writing is difficult, no doubt, but it doesn't have to feel like a three-brick bowel movement. Maybe if I had done the forms and the training first, the editing would have not felt as difficult, but to me, Sy's work takes priority. And I got all the other work done anyway. So it all works out. But now, as Joel and then Mike always exclaimed on Mystery Science Theater 3000, "We've got Movie Sign!"