Tallis Steelyard


Obviously as a poet, I do not need an editor. I am the poet, the editor and indeed the calligrapher as well. What is an editor going to tell me, that ‘te dum, te dum dum, te dum’ ought to be ‘te dum, te dum, te dum’?

Will the editor criticise my symbolism, mock my metaphor, aggressively advise against alliteration?

Not while I still have breath in my body!

But when you make the mistake of committing your thoughts to prose then suddenly editors are obligatory, proffering their counsel, making suggestions and marking your fair copy with red squiggles of awesome mystical import.

I sit there with my manuscript on my lap in front of me and the letter on the floor by my side.

“Differentiate characters, describe their faces.”

I raise my eyes to the ceiling. To the world in general I proclaim, “But he’s obviously tall and elegant.”

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