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Editing Is Like Polishing Your Dad’s Shoes

Editing is like polishing your dad’s shoes. Mind you, I have not polished any shoe since 1974. Yet, I still remember the way that the betún (polish), the brush and the rag brought out my reflection, and how I would place my father’s shoes back inside his closet and not say a word when he got home, as if an elf had been responsible making his shoes gleam. 

My father was a jeweler by trade. However, he could not hold down a job for very long because of his mental illness, so he had various jobs when I was growing up from dishwasher to pawn shop teller. The shoes I polished were his good shoes. The ones he wore when he walked the streets of downtown Miami trying to find another job, or more times than others, when he just wandered lost in his own mania. The shoes I polished were most often when he was in a bought of mania. He would spend his whole paycheck on shoes, suits, and pinky rings that l would remain in his closet between blue-collar jobs. 

Editing MiPOesias is a similar endeavor. I receive submissions from Pulitzer winning poets, to the unknown, and every writer in-between. Rejections are sent. “Sorry you did not get this gig but maybe the next editor will publish your work.”  Acceptances are published when a poet takes me somewhere. I want the poem to remind me of a smell, a touch, a sensation. I want to feel it. I want to breathe it. I want to take it between my temples and rub it into a living thing on a page. Ah, that is why I do this. I want to fathom what it will look like when I am getting ready to design the issue and finally polish it in MiPOesias

I don’t know if my dad ever realized that it was me who polished his shoes. I wasn’t successful in polishing away my dad’s mania, but maybe I’ve done okay with polishing poems as an editor.  


Didi Menendez is the publisher of PoetsArtists (www.poetsandartists.com), MiPOesias (www.mipoesias.com), and several other literary whatnots (see Links). When she is not publishing she is either parenting or painting.