The editorial labor: an opportunity for service

The latin etymology of the word editing is edere, “give life to”, “give birth to”. The one who edits is constantly «giving birth», «giving life», adding something from his/her own essence to the creation of the text that will be published. (Or is there two types of editors: the midwife-editor and the mother-editor? Certainly, traditional edition is more on the side of the midwife-editor; the editor  acts as midwife because the creature comes already formed. But what about the others?, the ones who take a text before it exists, before the one in charge of creating it has been contacted?).

I am avoiding, on purpose, using the word “work”, because it derives from a tool for torture in the middle-ages: the tripalium. Therefore, I suggest the word labor, linked to the old task of cultivating the soil, sowing. The editorial labor is then, a labor(sowing) that gives form and content to the text(gestation-birth). It provides a concrete form so it can be touched and seen by others, by the other. And it is precisely that other that the editor should never ignore: all our efforts have as the ultimate end to eliminate everything that could be an obstacle during the reading. For that purpose we need to imagine, dream about and know that other, so we can foresee his needs, wishes and curiosities.