When I need to see a book without reading it, I’ll spin the page upside down so the letters look like cuneiform and the ideas fall out. I’ll spread pens, highlighters, and half a ream of upside-down manuscript across a table and flip through it without reading a single word. Each page gives the reader a window into the story, but I’m not reading—I’m cleaning, and it’s easier to fix those windows without the author dancing in front of them. I brush off rivers and word stacks, buff out awkward hyphens, and wipe away excess word spacing. I clean smudges, more or less, to help the reader see the story without distraction.
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