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Catch-up notes from the past quarter and the duty of care editors owe writers
It’s been ages since I last wrote to you. So much for writing monthly. It hasn’t exactly been the easiest few months. Perhaps, it’s more sincere to say it hasn’t been the easiest lifetime. Life is reinforcing itself in a way I’m trying to accept: that good and bad, sad and happy, tired and energetic, will co-exist. Don’t expect all happy days and then sad days. And when the good and bad run into each other, don’t let the bad overwhelm the good. I’ve been traveling, writing, and attempting to revamp my life. I’m tired all the time, but enthused about where the road will take me.
Something exciting I did recently:
I got my hands dirty designing and styling my entire pre-wedding shoot along with friends. Shout out to my fave photographer, Aisha Ife for bringing it to life. I don’t know anything about fashion, but from the moment I knew I would get married this year, I knew I wanted everything about my wedding to scream creativity. I’ve always been sentimental, attaching excessive value to everything vintage: old school music from Lijadu Sisters to Aretha Franklin, old sepia or black and white photographs of people I never met, whose geles sit askew on their head, flower patterned dresses that smell musty and of camphor or the bottom of a drawer, and make you think of the sun after a wet day, playing musical chairs, dancing makossa, and eating vanilla cake at a 10-year-old’s outdoor birthday party.
So, I decided I would have a vintage wedding, and the first act was my pre-wedding shoot set in a “colonial mansion” in Lagos, and dressed in clothes from my mother’s 80s wardrobe. I wrote about it here. I’ll probably put together comprehensive notes later in the year, and open up my wedding planning Notion page to the public.
Something exciting I read recently:
Not nearly done yet, but I started readingYou Made A Fool Out of Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi, and so far, it’s been the all-consuming, skin-tingling read I didn’t expect it to be. It’s romantic, loving, and tender in so many ways. It made me realize that I desperately need more contemporary novels about people (especially Nigerians) in their 20s navigating all the same things I’m navigating. Not the desperate I’m-looking-for-husband-or-I’m-die recurring theme that Nollywood portrays. The novel took me back to being 12, and reading Mills & Boon novels and Harlequin romance.
Something exciting I listened to recently:
I want to say Beyoncé’s new song, Break My Soul, but at the risk of the Beehive coming for me, I won’t talk about it yet. To be fair, I’m lowkey obsessed with Beyoncé, and wouldn’t stand any Beyoncé slander. But to be fairer, I was more excited about the idea of the song being released, than about the song… so far.
That said, I’ve been listening to Florence + The Machine’s new album, Dance Fever, which is just as electric as I expected it to be, but maybe better. I enjoyed this interview where she talks about her creative process.
The duty of care editors owe to writers.
Not a legal letter (as in negligence under Torts Law), but I’ve been musing on what it means for an editor to owe a writer a duty of care. Is it to put the writer’s needs first? Or to put the reader’s needs first? The writer is too knee-deep in the creative process to care about the reader, but that’s where the editor comes in, to remove the veil, and to ensure in the process of producing the work, the pair have seen and taken into consideration all kinds of sloppiness that might 1) prevent the work from being great, 2) whittle down the writer’s talent, reputation or skill, 3) negatively impact the readers experience of the work.
In the process of musing about these things, and how I can make the writers I edit have an even better editing experience, I’ve come up with my own cardinal rules, which will keep evolving. As an editor, I want to:
ensure that all the ideas represented reflect the writer's ideas
ensure I’m not moulding the writer's tone into a shape that they do not recognize
ensure I’m not taking credit for the writer's work or representing their ideas as mine
insist on the highest standard
be kind in the way I share feedback and corrections
That’s all folks!
What’s something exciting that happened to you this quarter? I’m looking forward to hearing from you ❤️✨
You’ll find errors in this labour of love, but they’ll be fine.