I am a big fan of nineteenth-century British literature, namely Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Elizabeth Gaskell. (By the way, if you haven't read Elizabeth Gaskell, you are missing out.) What amazes me now, as I write my first draft, is that they did everything by hand.
I mean, that seriously limits the editing possibilities, and to rewrite your whole first draft was no easy feat. Let's see, my copy of David Copperfield is 870 pages. How many pages is that handwritten? And then to edit it and copy it for publishing? It boggles my mind.
So I have reached the conclusion that these authors and authoresses must have gotten it pretty close to right the first time. They were that incredible. The brilliant prose and wit just slipped from their fingers onto their paper.
Maybe they were just smarter then. I mean, we have more knowledge now, but they were languge-smart. They could think of an emotion or a circumstance and just translate it into words that everybody would know and understand...for years to come.
So I have determined that I must settle for my mediocrity and just be glad to be blessed with their genius, and maybe a little sad that if it weren't for Addison's disease, coronary artery disease, and cerebral hemorrhages we would have many more of their masterpieces to read and love.