APPARENTLY I AM A DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR for memoir. I had not know that until recently when four separate email inquiries came in using that phrase. Huh, I thought, and did not think much more about it until a few days later when someone referred to me as a “memoir development editor.” That was quickly followed by an email asking if I was a “development editor,” which, in turn, was followed by an inquiry into my “developmental editing” skills. Something, clearly, has shifted.
Who am I, I started to wonder? How did someone who stays at home and types for a living get rephrased, repurposed, repackaged and redeployed, all without lifting a finger?
Moments like this in life delight me. More so, of course, than those that simply rephrase who I am based on my age, or the age of my child or husband.
It seems we are sharply defined every time we shop online and then, for months after, see ads on the screen for items to which we gave little more than a passing glance. Right now, these define me as someone who is in a relentless search for comfortable, waterproof winter boots. That will change, of course, the next time I shop for something else, but for now that, and being a developmental editor, seem to be how the Internet defines me.
This idea of who we are and how much we have to say about it has also been on my mind as I read The New York Times these last two Sundays, particularly while reading three separate pieces that get at who we might be in relation to our feelings. That each of these pieces reveals a separate scientific inquiry into different aspects of how we feel, and why, feels right on time as I suss through how to react to being repackaged. If you haven’t seen these pieces, you’re in for some great reading. One boldly states that there is nothing wrong with your sex drive; the second is a wildly controversial piece about medicating women’s feelings, while the third posits that there is a feel-good gene and that only a small percentage of the population carries it.
If any or all of the authors of these pieces turn out to be correct, we’ll have some serious relabeling to do of ourselves and one another. In the meantime, I’ll answer to pretty much any phrase having to do with my memoir editing business, search for those damn boots, and read on.