I posted an excerpt of my memoir last week. It was part of a selection that was chosen for publication in an anthology, so imagine my dismay to find, as I scanned my writing after posting on Facebook, several typos and general writing errors. Those errors were not present when I submitted my story for publication. So what the hell happened? Did I post an older, unrevised version? I don’t think so. Did letters and commas jump around in the middle of the night to fuck with me—do they have a mind of their own like our pets do when we aren’t home? Whatever the reason, it’s a harsh reminder about how time-consuming and imperfect the art of editing can be.
I’ve corrected the errors, but who knows, I may not have caught them all. We live in an imprecise world, and not only should imprecision be accepted, it should be ignored. Try telling that to the part of me that wanted to erase the damn apostrophe in “Put Wet Umbrella’s Here” on the white board at Massage Envy. I once used my pinky to smudge out a misplaced apostrophe in “its” at a coffee shop. I looked around in shame, hoping nobody saw my obsessiveness, my grammar wisdom in action. But why am I the one feeling bad—I’m trying to correct grammar and put a stop to illiteracy one apostrophe at a time. Should mediocrity go unmatched? Should repairs that improve writing conditions everywhere be stifled? I think not. However, getting every word perfect every time is exhausting and, apparently, not really possible for the likes of me. One question remains: how do others do it? And one statement remains: we hate and admire them simultaneously.
And I think that’s okay.