I was recently in receipt of the proof for the forthcoming paperback publication of “The Stonecutter’s Tale”, which was a very informative editorial exercise. When a piece of work is on the screen it does look very different indeed and, I think, holding the particular artifact in the hand produces a very resonant feeling, that it really must be completely correct before anyone else sees it.
It has made me question the structural integrity of the form of the poem. I have returned to the basics, counting lines and metres, and thinking about the way a thing looks to the eye as well as sounds out in the head. After all, I may not have the resource to write another. When all the world’s computers have wiped clean the memory of my verse from their millions of gigs and bits this might be the only repository in which it may survive.
Okay, so that image might be a tiny little bit melodramatic and, who am I kidding, would it be as great a loss as all that? Well, I guess I would miss it, and so, the last remaining copy, clutched in my trembling hand, had better be right.