Revision as archeology

Archeologists often intentionally leave parts of sites unexcavated. They leave them for future archeologists, knowing they will have better tools, be able to uncover more, damage less.

Often, when I'm revising, especially something I wrote a long time ago, I feel like a future archeologist. This scene, this character, this dialog was pulled from the ground of my consciousness with poor tools, dragged from the tar and cleared off with eyebrow-scorching boiling vinegar. Now I have better tools. Now patiently, deliberately, I can uncover the monster. Clean it from the muck.

And in the future, I'll have better tools. My faith as sure as that of the archeologists, pining for unimagined machinery.