Have pen, will slice

I’m in a very unusual position at work. For some reason -- and much to my delight -- I’ve been named editor of an 80-page coffee table book commemorating the first five years of the program. This is not unlike my experience editing my high school yearbook, except I’m now much better equipped to take care of such a large project.

The problem is, that as I go through the director’s stories for the publication, I find myself wanting to edit -- to slice and chop. His creative instincts aren’t mine, and I have strong opinions of how things should be written.

So this afternoon, I must sit down with him and very delicately explain just why I think certain passages need to be cut from his stories. About how in the wake of our budget cancellation, everything he writes is self-deprecating. “No, really -- the program doesn’t suck. We didn’t change the world, but we don’t suck.” For me, self-deprecation just won’t cut it for the coupe de grace of my work here.

Since this book needs to be turned into a sales pitch for possibly financial backers, I have to tailor it for a much better message: “We rock. They were idiots to eliminate our funding. If you don’t fund us, the world will weep.” There should be no doubt at all about how great we are -- that our loss of funding was nothing short of a tragedy and crime that must be quickly rectified. You can’t generate a sense of outrage without first establishing just how incredible you are.

The problem is that my boss is a journalist. Despite what conservative political pundits say, they don’t believe in making any subjective, unqualified statements about things -- they abhor lies. Anything venturing close to an opinion fills their hearts with fear beyond reckoning. If you can’t clear it with a fact checker then my god you might as well be going to hell. Whereas, my training is in marketing and creative writing -- all lies.

And it will take a liar, not a reporter, to save this program.