Friday, February 4, 2011

Open Wide

You might be surprised to learn that I do not have any tattoos or piercings on my body. I have a deep aversion to “permanent”  “alterations” that affect my flesh and bones. (Yes, I know that piercing holes can close up and that you can get tattoos removed. But I don’t even like “semi” “permanent” “alterations.”)

I don’t like stuff you can’t change. I do not like permanent things.

As a kid, I shied away from permanent markers. I never wanted anything to go on my permanent record. And I know I dressed like a wrinkled mess, never having the courage to wear permanent press.

So I guess it’s not shocking to reveal that I don’t like going to the dentist. All that drilling and filling and yanking and clanking is permanent. (Other reasons include extreme discomfort and pain and the taste of Novocain.)

Unfortunately, that’s where I am/was this morning. It’s been at least 10 or 12 years since I’ve needed any dental work (besides a cleaning). I brush, I floss, I eat right, I whisper sweet—but not sugary—nothings to my molars. Despite my best efforts, though, I need some work done.

The worst part? I’ll have to carry around those metal/ceramic pieces in my mouth for the rest of my life. I’ll be forever altered, and that bums me out.

What does this have to do with writing?

Well, once a book gets published in print, it’s “permanent.” Can’t be altered. Sure, you can change it in future editions or in the e-book version, but each printed book is permanent.

That’s why, as a writer, you need to make your story as good as you possibly can. Sometimes, there are no second chances.


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5 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Alan - I know what you mean about the dentist. I won't say I'm scared to go, but it's not my favourite place. You make a good point about getting a book published, too. I cringe at some of the things that should have been changed in my writing...but weren't before they were published....yup, still cringing.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Good luck at the dentist. I’m impressed that you found such a logical way to connect dentistry and writing.

Alan Orloff said...

Margot - I knw whas oo mea abot crishig. Shorry, shtill nmb frum da Novocay.

Jane - Heerth de cunneckshun: Pain.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Hope the dentist went all right! I try to put a book's errors behind me when the book comes out...but reader emails will haunt me! Fortunately there are usually just one or two.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I have huge dentist-phobia. Huge. Bigger than the storms that are hammering parts of the country this winter. I know what you mean about permanent errors; which is precisely the reason I never looked at a published copy of a book I edited when I was working at a publishing company one summer many, many years ago.