Several years ago I visited a large public university to give a talk. At the time my host (who will remain anonymous but some of my readers may guess who it is — I’m not telling) was serving as graduate program director and going through admissions decisions — which are always difficult. I ask him how his day is going and he says “Killing . . . killing. […pauses to reflect or perhaps just for dramatic effect…] Where’s the tenderness?”
This is how I feel about The Sound Studies Reader, whose Table of Contents I just returned to my editor at Routledge. As usual, this round of work is the result of my producing excessively long documents to start with. My original proposed reader was about 1000 pages (or so we estimated) with 67 individual entries, plus two introductory essays by me. Now we’re down to one introductory essay by me, 52 essays and I’ve surgically cut about 425 pages in order to preserve a lot of diversity. It may still be too much in terms of permissions and logistics, but we shall see. But every cut to me feels like a little heartbreak, since I like all the material so much. (And lots of the stuff that didn’t make it in.) No public ToC is possible until we settle on our end and then they get quotes on permissions, but I will certainly post more about it when I can.
Now back to wrapping up the mp3 book revisions. By the end of the week I should have cut about 5000 words off that. Maybe more if I’m clever.
If I ask where the tenderness is, you know why.