I’ve just managed to get my hands on a second hand, much browsed and therefore historically more valid, copy of Mr Stephen King’s ‘The Gunslinger’, part one in his Dark Tower multiplicity. I say ‘historically more valid’, simply because this here second hand book wot I iz a lookin’ at has been held in many hands. Many, many hands, some of whom actually read the thing, others who decided to leaf through a page or too and then pass it on to someone else. History’s all about the mundania of existence I suppose; the everyday, the people as well as the pomp.
So, does this book represent a potential archeological finding of great import for future, as yet unborn generations of human-types who, being able to extract DNA molecules from its pages, will be able to ascertain the comings and goings of anyone who has been in contact with its musty old pages? (Was 1989 a good vintage, or is it a mere table quaffings in the Wine Cellar of life? Hmm….)
‘Twas my google research that got me thinking.
Well, I say research – it’s hardly that nowadays is it? Research is more of a Wiki peek, website check and a glance at a review from someone you’ve never heard of and bingo – there’re your three verifiable sources! Hardly dented my day, believe me. I guess the days of notepad, pencil case and a library full of journals and reference works are dwindling. I hope not. Books rock, big style. (Needs a new word: Briefsearch-the act of finding information that will aid a person in less than 5 minutes. Page loading times included.)
So, back to Mr King and his Dark Tower series…
I was intrigued to discover during my ‘research’ that he has ‘revised’ the story by some 35 pages in later editions, and that certain passages in the first book are altered to fit in with events later on for continuities sake. Oo-kaay…
Now, I might be reading too much into this – I normally do! – but we do this an awful lot, we humans,don’t we? We writers do it all the time, constantly altering and agitating the ideas in our heads until they become something concrete and acceptable. Should that happen post publication? Should that occur after the piece of work / writing / art / film / whatever has entered the public domain and been viewed?
It got me pondering the question as to why we, as a species, continually revise our lives to make them into something more palatable? To make a change, a conscious change such as moving from an abusive husband or dead-end job isn’t what I mean. I am referring to the subtle, sub-conscious changes that we create in our heads to justify our life and existence. Do we even know we are doing it and, if we don’t, how much of our life is actual truth and how much is Writers Revision?
Somethings, however, should not be altered 😉 :