Thursday, November 19, 2009

Editor Wanted

Rejection slip for ''The Diary of Anne Frank'' - The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ''curiosity'' level.

I submitted an essay to The Sun Magazine last week. Yesterday my husband noticed a typo in a copy of the already sent cover letter that was lying around in the vicinity of the kitchen table. Looking at the page with the typo on it, made me think of Native American beadwork.

I used to make jewelry – some beadwork and some wire work – and I was employed at Seeds of Light (a bead shop in Blacksburg) for many years, which is how I became aware of the following tradition: In some tribes, a bead artist will include an off-color bead in the midst of an elaborate and otherwise uniformed bead pattern. I have a Hopi peyote-stitch key chain like this. At first glance, and if you don’t know of the tradition, it looks like a mistake was made. I’ve heard that the off-color bead is used as a signature. Or, I’ve also heard that it’s meant to keep one from losing ones soul while gazing into the hypnotizing pattern.

I don’t claim such a thing for my typos, but it’s fun to think about.

Sometimes with writing, my mind sees what I meant, more than what I actually wrote. No time for editors or writing workshop feedback in the fast paced world of daily blogging. So far I have had 3 typos pointed out to me by readers on entries that I must have read more than a half a dozen times before posting. While I appreciate knowing about the typos, I also wonder, why is it we can’t easily see our own mistakes? Our own faults and body odors don’t bother us either, as much as those of other people.

Misspelled words? It runs in my family. I like to remind myself that standardized spelling only came into existence in the late 1800s. And this is what Andrew Jackson said about it: It’s a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.

I say: “Thank God for the spell check.”

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