I wrote this story this summer on many, many train journeys back and forth between London from Sussex. There's many disparate events, people, happenings pickled into just one little story about two people going on a date. On some journeys I would change just one word. Often I would spend half an hour editing one paragraph so the tone and the language were correct. What I wrote, what I submit these days is filtered like a fucking Bavarian beer.
Flicking through the printed version though I noticed a couple of things that jarred; stuff I didn't remember; asides, clarifications, extra bits I didn't pen. Now, admittedly last night I was coming down off a good meal (with G&T, wine and port with the cheese) at Gordon Ramsay's London House. So, it could have been just me. (It's often just me). But clearly something wasn't right.
I checked again this morning. Yep - they'd been some editing on my sacred words. How dare they! One especial 'addition' to my text comes right at the end, in the penultimate line. Now I'd deliberately changed tone in the story and so by the last page the theme is one of regret not bitterness. From regret comes salvation. You follow the lead character's thought processes until he gets to this epiphany.
It's quite touching and if I hadn't written it, I'd think it was an excellent piece of writing.
But like a child with some felt tips 'improving' the Mona Lisa, some jocular words are added before my final, payoff line. It's art, dammit!!!
Fuck it. I got £50 which I spent on a few (two) bottles of wine in London. I have another 'book' to add to my growing collection of near misses and second prizes.
I'm not precious.
The other Don