Read recently where writer Kingsley Amis once described the worst kind of editor, who "prowls through your copy like an overzealous gardener with a pruning hook, on the watch for any phrase he senses you were rather pleased with, preferably one that also clinches your argument and if possible is essential to the general drift of the surrounding passage."
I have met this editor so many times that I don't count the phrases he has taken out, but the few he has left in.
Like the last line in this passage, from a magazine piece I did about life on a rural nine-hole golf course called Pine Hills, in 2003.
I probably fell in love with the golf course before I ever saw it. Just getting to the course from Interstate 80 is a trip through geological time and American history. Rt. 23 leads you down into the lush Illinois River Valley, through old Ottawa and past Washington Park, where the first Lincoln-Douglas debate took place. Then, over the bridge spanning Illinois River just a few hundred yards from where Fox River comes in. Then another mile south, across a couple of cornfields and over a set of old railroad tracks. That’s where you turn right and wind around and down into the natural bowl where the golf course is.
Pine Hills is a bowl of golf.
You don't have to like that line, but I do. And, somehow, the editor let it through.
What's the best line you ever got through the wickets?