An Editor’s Nightmare Before Christmas

I scratched and scribbled feverishly. The hours dragged long into the night. Christmas was a few days away. The work couldn’t wait.

My eyes blurred. My hand cramped. I needed a break.

I sipped my now lukewarm coffee and gazed out the window.

Snowflakes flittered gently to and fro. Down, down, softly down. Forming a thick downy blanket.

snow_night_1450741843I took a deep breath. Unclenched my pen. Tried to relax. I clicked my lamp off and let my eyes adjust.

It had been snowing steadily for hours. Conifers loomed. Majestic and mysterious. Shrouded in darkness. Cloaked in white. They seemed luminescent, magical.

Just a reflection, I thought. From the few feeble rays cast out my window and the scattered light from the bulb out front. My cabin was deep in the woods, far from the city’s bright bustle. I glanced at my little tree, lonely in the corner. Draped in strands of glittering silver. Peppered with glowing bulbs of red and green. Adorned by a few token ornaments.

I wondered why I bothered. I’m here for isolation, not distraction. To get the work done. It struck me that editing Christmas stories isn’t exactly a recipe for Christmas spirit. I sighed.

There is no such thing as magic. No such person as Santa. Only this wretched work that seems never to end. Still, the child’s myth of Christmas gives us adults cheer and belonging, I mused.

I clicked my lamp back on.

I eyed the daunting stack of manuscripts still untouched. I had placed a paperweight on top to keep them from scattering. On the other side of my desk lay a stack of finished work, just as tall. My penned notes and corrections clashed with the neat black typeface.

Red and black. The colors of fascism. How appropriate. Thoughts of Hitler and Mussolini popped into my head. I shuddered.

Back to work.

I grabbed the next manuscript and gasped in horror. Did my eyes lie? I looked again. No misspellings. No punctuation errors. All legitimate English language words. But so horribly misplaced. So horribly abused.

An editor’s nightmare.

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