Friday, June 18, 2004

Blue pencil blog.

'Nother long day, for a variety of reasons, but at least the weekend is here, and it looks to be a pleasant sort of summer weekend, the kind in which you get to stay home and be as idle as possible. Which really isn’t completely idle, except compared to most days.

I may be raising a future editor. Just today, I noticed that Lilly had written something on the map of Schaumburg we keep in the car. It’s a map we got when we moved here last year, and has “2003 Village of Schaumburg” written on the front fold. Last year had been crossed out, and “2004” written clearly in its place with a green pencil. I hadn’t done that, and I was pretty sure Yuriko wouldn’t have bothered with it, so I asked Lilly if she had done it. Yes, she had. “It’s 2004 now,” she said with a slight didn’t-you-know-that? tone.

Come to think of it, that’s also the first time I’ve known for sure that she understands the sequential passing of years. Anyway, I did similar kinds of updating when I was very young, and sometimes I would correct things that I thought needed correcting in a printed text. When I was nine or so, I had a book about the Apollo program, which I think was called Apollo: Lunar Landing. It wasn’t really a children’s book, and so mostly above my reading level at that time, though I could understand some of it, and the photos and diagrams were fascinating.

At one point, it discussed a spacecraft being “en route” to the Moon. That brought out my blue pencil (figuratively speaking), since I’d never seen that phrase before. So I “corrected” it to read “in route.” Wrong, but the editor’s spirit was awake and active all the same. It would be some time later before I would develop the companion practice of looking something up whenever you see a red flag, if you’re not sure of the usage.



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