On Editing

A writer once went out into the fields of imagination and created an animal with a lion’s roar, a giraffe’s neck, a cheetah’s speed, and a horse’s gait; he gave it the vegan diet of an elephant, the conceit of a cat and the faithfulness of a dog. The animal, which the writer decided to call “Novel” due to its uniqueness, took on the colours of the rainbow as it danced in the light of a fading sun. Both writer and his creation played and frolicked until it was time to go home.
At home, he met his friends, fellow writers, who did not like the lion’s roar (too frightening) and the cheetah’s speed (too racy). The writer took them off Novel to please his friends. He met his editor, who was livid that a giraffe’s neck could go with a horse’s gait (inconsistent). The writer met his publisher, who said, “How can I sell this…this…thing?” More cuts were made to appease all aggrieved parties. Finally, the publisher was happy and petted the animal, saying, “Now you are understandable and non•threatening. Everyone will want to have a clone of you in their house. They will enjoy you on their lap in their armchair beside the fire on a winter’s evening. They might even let you live in their bookcase.”
As the publisher walked away figuring out how many clones he would make, the teary writer sat dejectedly with his animal, now reduced to a tiny dog, and said to it, “Who are you?”

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