I’ve worked with a boatload of editors over the last 20+ years. Some were easy, some were wonderful, some were persnickety, and one was Satan in human form. A good editor is priceless — and by good, I don’t mean easy. I’ve had some tough editors who taught me so much, who made me work harder and really stretch to give the best I had in me.
Now I have a new editor. His name is Cam, and he’s 3 years old and already thinks he knows how to tell my stories better than me. He’s as impatient as the Satan editor, and as ruthless, too, but I love him to death so it’s okay.
At least once each week, Bob and I pick up Cam when his dad goes to work and take him to Merritt’s Bakery, where he eats chocolate-glazed long johns with chocolate milk and repeatedly commands, “Tell me a story, Grandma.” Of course, I do,until his mom comes to get him.
Each story starts with “Once upon a time,” and each one stars Cam. Sometimes he’s a superhero; sometimes he’s a police officer. Lately, the child editor has insisted the protagonist must be Cowboy Police Chief Cameron. He must have a pistol, a gun belt, handcuffs; a horse, a cowboy hat, a big cowboy belt buckle, and his guinea pigs, Winnie and Megan, are optional, depending on his mood.
Last Friday’s story:
Me: Once upon a time, there was a farmer named Farmer Brown–
Him: No, no, once upon a time, there was a Cowboy Police Chief Cameron.
Me: I’m getting to that. And Farmer Brown lived on a farm, where he had horses and cows and pigs and chickens–
Him: And a Cowboy Police Chief Cameron!
Me: Who’s telling this story? You or me?
Him: You. But you’re not getting it right.
Sigh . . . everyone’s an editor.