‘Snip snip snip’ has been the soundtrack to my day – the sound of words disappearing from the thesis as it enters the final stages. I find the editing process hard; not because it’s fiddly & detailed, but because I find it difficult to let go. I feel emotionally attached to the words I write – they are an extension of me, whether they be on this blog, in my work or on a greetings card.
Stripping back the thesis is sad. After years of writing & building it up, it’s like stripping layers of paint away. So much is embroiled within the six chapters – where I was, who I was with, what I was doing, who I was, as I wrote each bit. The editing process is like cutting that away, a bit at a time. Having to ditch entire sections is the worst – it can be so hard to admit it has to go – admitting defeat after you’ve invested so much time & effort into it. It’s like calling time on a relationship that isn’t working; it’s never easy, even when you know it’s for the best.
Stripping back – back to the absolute basics (I had to add the ‘absolute’ to avoid any confusion with the 1990s Tory morality project). Over the years that I’ve been writing my thesis, I’ve been simultaneously editing my life. So much has gone, never to return – ‘some forever, not for better’, to quote the Beatles, although much is for the best. And when you strip back, what are you left with? You’re bare; exposed; vulnerable. My words don’t offer much protection anymore.
Today I also sat drinking tea in the garden. I looked at the poppies (which have exploded since the first burst into bloom last Thursday). I looked after my niece for an hour, taking her to see the nearby horses. I received a letter & parcel from an old friend. I’m about to go and stitch a blanket.
When you edit your life – strip back – you also get to uncover what, underneath it all, is really important.