A while ago, I summed up a story from the New Yorker about how Raymond Carver’s widow, the poet Tess Gallagher, is looking to publish Carver’s unedited stories, which had been cut to pieces by his minimalist editor, Gorden Lish. Vindication at last for the real Ray. Right?
Well, another view of this story pops up in Tobias Wolff’s interview in the current Poets & Writers. For thirty years, Wolff and Carver were excellent friends and writing pals who often shared work in progress and discussions about writing. Here’s Wolff’s take on Gallagher’s “restoration” of Carver’s originally submitted story drafts. “Ray had a chance in Where I’m Calling From to use whatever versions of his stories he preferred…These were to him the final versions of his stories…He was no longer working with Lish…He had the chance to present the final version of each story, and he did.”
Just goes to show that there’s always more to the story. Always.