He fucks you in second-person, pays for your objectivity.
You are his editor, after all, and that’s what an editor is paid to do; be unbiased, attentive to the actual words. His words.
Yet every “you,” sounds personal. How not to think they’re your holes he creatively fucks, are the things he wants to stuff with his junk? (His words. Not yours.) But this should be about craft and technique. Pace and perspective and tense and so you shouldn’t tense up when he sends an essay titled, “I Want to Fuck You.” This is creative nonfiction and you aren’t being paid to be propositioned. The monthly PayPal-ing he does to you is not sent To Friends and Family, but For Goods or Services.
He wants your goods.
What service do you provide?
You edit his essay—sickened—then send it back with more of your red ink on the page than his black. “Track Changes” to get him off your course and back on track. Craft and technique. Pace and perspective and tense. Don’t explore subtext. Just focus on prose. Remember?—he pays for your objectivity.
You are his object.
That thing he wants to fuck from every point of view.
Chelsey Clammer is the author of Body Home and winner of the 2015 Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award for her essay collection, Circadian. She has been published in The Rumpus, Hobart, McSweeney’s, and Black Warrior Review among others. She is the Essays Editor for The Nervous Breakdown and a volunteer reader for Creative Nonfiction. She teaches creative writing online with WOW! Women on Writing, and received her MFA from Rainier Writing Workshop. www.chelseyclammer.com.
I’m a really, REALLY huge lyric essay nerd, so most of the time my writing focuses more on pace, rhythm, structure, tone, and specific word choice as the key aspects of telling a story.