Editing, Proofing, Typesetting

I have finally got to the stage of getting all my poems out of various locked PDFs online and into simple text files. For various reasons it has taken a very long time. It is fascinating to see how many typos and misprints, inconsistencies and other glaring mistakes creep in over the years. Time is a great objective editor.

Being an early adopter I had used elementary scanners, Postcript and PDF technology, back in the late 80s and early 90s to archive some texts. In order to ‘get at’ the various scripts I had to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) them today and that, as anyone who has ever tried it, is a complete pain in the behind because no matter how good the machine, it often reads every ‘Y’ as a ‘V’ or ‘.’ as a ‘’,’ or vice versa etc etc. So a fair bit of basic proofing was needed before putting them through any other sieves of reflection as I like to call it.

Then there are the poems that have not weathered well – but then I knew it at the time but time compounds the crime. I threw out two books worth of poems over the decades – one in a fit of pique and one because I became fatigued by the number of other people’s poetry I was reading and it made me word blind for years afterwards. I am still suffering the consequences.

So – success so far. I have managed to get them all into Scrivener ready for the Edit before typesetting. Here’s an example published in the Literary Review aeons ago.

The next challenge is definitely the Typesetting – I’m still learning!

In the meantime I’m enjoying researching my next project and am using several technologies to pull in info from the web and ‘real life’ books. I delight in doing this on the fly using a phone, ipad or my desktop Mac.

The programs I use to do this are notably: nvALT, Obsidian, 1Writer, Scrivener as well as Typora for quick access to various data. I link and archive everything through Dropbox and locally on all devices. I use MD (Markdown) files which are the most fluent way of exchanging text between devices and the web. I am still an unabashed tecchie after 4 decades of doing this stuff.

But when it comes to eventually letting all this swill inside my head I will be using a good old-fashioned pen and basic exercise books to write, rewrite and endlessly amend the new ‘attempts’ at poems. The wonderful thing about getting older is I don’t care a damn about how this might be received; for me, at my age now, it’s the process that matters – the journey, and all the serendipity that that entails. I may never get these projects finished but, that too, is fine.

Don’t get me wrong – I care how it looks – how the language ‘works’ but I’m not (nor ever have been) into the flea circus around poetry publishing. I have my allotment to keep me grounded and as a refuge from any of that nonsense.