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Monday, October 6, 2014

What's an Editor to Do?

As I write this, I just finished reading a blog posted by someone who claims to be an editor. While her blog information makes sense, I found two blatant errors that are driving me crazy. What's a fellow editor to do?

My initial reaction was to write to the originator and tell her that because of the way she used the word "insure," it should have been spelled e-n-s-u-r-e. Insure means to cover something financially. Ensure means to make sure something happens. I wanted to add that she had spelled the word "acknowledgment" the British way, with the extra e: "acknowledgement." In America, we must spell it "acknowledgment," without the e between the g and the m. Spell checker programs won't catch and fix either of those errors; it takes the eye and mind of a skilled editor to catch those things. I would hope that someone who calls herself an editor would catch them in her own work, though.

My ego wanted to rise up and prove to her that I'm a better editor than she is, but such impudence could lead to major conflict and resentment. I'm sure that in this small world, such an attitude would come back to hurt me, and I don't want to hurt her, either. 

I have always had difficulty reading anything with errors in it. My editor's heart goes into spasm over every typo, dangling modifier, wrong word choice, and punctuation error. It has almost ruined my ability to enjoy reading contemporary novels or even a newspaper, especially now that few publishers have in-house editors and more errors than ever sneak into print.
What's an editor to do when a person claiming to be an editor makes egregious errors in a blog post on the Internet? Unfortunately nothing, but I can vent to fellow writers, as I have done today. Thank you for listening, and oh, thank you for overlooking any of my own errors. I am, after all, only human. Oh, why then do I expect other editors to be super human? Down, ego! Down!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lifelong Learning

Once I became a senior, I discovered endless opportunities to travel, take seminars, attend lectures, and join in mini-adventures. Woodstock has two senior centers that offer programs, and the Cherokee County Recreation and Parks Department has a group called Silver Roamers that offers day trips as well as three- and four-day trips, all of which include guides that inform participants of the history and culture of each location we visit. The community apparently wants to keep us "oldsters" entertained and educated, but I am sure that many things are also available for "spring chickens" under the age of fifty-five.

Most recently my sister and I traveled to Tallahassee, Florida, where the senior center there puts on a five-day Lifelong Learning Extravaganza each year. In partnership with a retirement community in Tallahassee, the event offered more than fifty events, lectures, tours, trips, and activities, from kayak fishing to the history of hand bells, and from a songwriting seminar to an improvised concert by a fabulous jazz musician inspired by artwork created by members of the senior center. Many events take place at the same time, which helped my sister and me whittle the list down to twelve events that did not conflict and that sounded interesting. With a dozen things to attend in four and a half days, we stayed busy from morning to night. To name a few of our adventures, we took a tour down the St. Marks River, all the way to the lighthouse in the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way we spotted a bald eagle, a manatee, a heron, and more, and on our way back, a dolphin cavorted beside our boat for a long time, as if escorting us.

Later we climbed aboard a comfortable bus and rode to Thomasville, Georgia, where we strolled for about a mile while a guide told us of the history of the area, pointed out significant buildings, and took us to some of the finest restaurants, where we had samplings of grits and shrimp, sourdough pizza, crab cakes and fried green tomatoes, fresh-roasted coffee, handmade cheeses, and more.

In other events, we took a seminar that covered harmonies from the days of Plato through the music of Elvis. We watched a terrific slide show and learned about the sight and sacredness of India while dining at an Indian restaurant. We listened to the intense adventures and watched videos and slide shows from a man who seeks and often finds the world's rarest mammals. We also attended a concert of contemporary Jewish music on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. We did much more, too. If you are my friend on Facebook, you saw some of the postings and pictures from this past week.
You don't have to be old to learn more about the world around you, though. You don't even have to be a writer to explore areas and subjects that are new to you. You simply have to want to learn, and opportunities will open to you. Here's to lifelong learning!