What with Welcome To The Fold's remaster out of the way, I've now turned to getting Flight Of The Vajra remastered. With that came a temptation I've talked about many times before: the urge to rewrite the book, or at the least cut pieces of it that for some reason have gotten stuck in the back of my mind, like splinters under the skin. Just to shut myself up, I went back and re-read the passages in question, and found that they were nowhere nearly as terrible as I remembered. I left them in.
Human memory and the power to imagine reflect our ability to understand the past and the future, respectively; our senses are about the power to receive the present. Memory and imagination can be tricky, though; how we remember things are colored by emotion, and our concepts about the future often have nothing to do with our actual experiences of it. My projections about those passages in the book were nothing like what actually reading them was like. Once I sat back down with the book and looked at the passages as they actually were on the page, as opposed to just responding to my memories of them, my attitude about the whole enterprise did a one-eighty.
At least one other book to be redone, The Four-Day Weekend, leaves me with the same kind of itch, like wearing clothes washed in the wrong detergent. The first part of it in particular: there's some material in there that I think is going to come off as sexist and awkward, although again one's mileage may vary. I don't know that I'm going to change it, but rather put a note on it attesting to how I wrote it some fifteen years ago, and that I've decided to let it stand, flaws and all, as a road marker for my progress since.
I don't mind cleaning up my work and making it more presentable and consistent. Hence the term "remaster" or "republish" instead of rewrite. I've long been leery of turning into a George Lucas and changing the finished works to the point where the things that actually made the difference aren't even the same anymore.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind