Robert Gottlieb, one of the most celebrated English-language book editors of the 20th century, once told the Paris Review that “the editor’s relationship to a book should be an invisible one.”

Gottlieb was referring to readers when he said that, not to writers. With all his writers, from Joseph Heller to Toni Morrison, Gottlieb was decidedly, and sensitively, hands-on.

“Somehow, to be helpful,” he said in that same interview, “an editor has to embody authority yet not become possessive or controlling.”

And therein lies the inherent friction between writer and editor. The editor has a definite say in the words…

Amy L. Bernstein

I write to learn — how to think, how to live, how to be — in a world that has never made much sense to me. Novels, essays, poems. Whatever the moment demands.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store