Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

July 31, 2007

In Praise of "In Praise of Editors" by Gary Kamiya

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 7:49 pm

One of the best pieces of writing about writing, one of the best pieces of writing I’ve come upon recently is Gary Kamiya’s recent essay in Salon called “In Praise of Editors”.

Kamiya’s piece can be found at:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/kamiya/2007/07/24/editing/index.html

It was was one of the best descriptions and defenses of the editor/writer relationship. particularly apropos in a blogging age where such relationships are often considered superfluous. And while he gave props to the heat-of-the moment unedited blog post, he also made real the value of working with someone who in various ways can make something you’ve written seem smarter than it started out to be.

It made me think of how lucky I’ve been how many great editors I’ve been able to work with. Dan Wolf the legendary founding editor of The Village Voice, my first editor. Harold Hayes the brilliant editor of Esquire in the last couple yearr of the golden age when that magazine was re-inventing magazine non fiction. Lewis Lapham the grand eminence of Harper’s, Michael Kinsley, also briefly at Harper’s. John Larsen at the much admired, much lamented New Times. Jane Amsterdam at the innovative Manhattan,inc. Tina Brown at Vanity Fairand <The New Yorker smart and demanding, Robert Vare at the Times magazine, The New Yorker and The Atlantic, an edtor with an impassioned belief in the unconventinal possibilities of non-fiction, great New York editor and character Peter Kaplan at The New York Observer.And (I’m not just saying this for obvious reasons) all the super-smart people I’ve worked with atSlate.

And my book editors, Jonathan Karp for Explaining Hitler and David Ebershoff for The Shakespeare Wars and two other books between them. I couldn’t have been more fortunate.

Of course the trouble with making such a list is that I’ve inevitably(probbly self destructively) left some, many, out–many many story editors as opposed to the mainly editors in chief I’ve named. To those I’ve not named–especially including all the hard working story editors–please accept my apologies. Just too many to name all of them who have been invaluable to my work. And all the gifted copyeditors, as well. Someone should write a companion piece to Kamiya’s about the copyeditor’s art. I’ll add names here as I walk down the street and it stirkes me “how could I have forgotten him or her?!”

I like the immediacy and freedom of blogging, don’t get me wrong. But read Kamiya’s piece for a beautifully written appreciation of the collaborative, synergistic meshing of minds that goes on between wrtiers and gifted editors. I wonder who his editor was on that piece?

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