Thursday, November 20, 2008

Up too early again

Woke up this morning from a rather odd dream -- I was either dropping off or picking up film from a CVS drugstore, and it was definitely the CVS that's at the intersection of North Druid Hills Road and Buford Highway here in northeast Atlanta, but nothing else looked familiar. All the other businesses on the block, like the Rusty Nail with its nifty barbecue, were gone. And it wasn't like post-apocalyptic gone (piles of rubble or vacant lots with rats scittering through the kudzu), it was gone like they'd never existed. The CVS was just sitting there, alone, in the middle of nowhere on what appeared to be tundra. Cotton grass was blooming, the sky was a deep beautiful smogless blue. No skyscrapers on the horizon, no multiple lanes of traffic whizzing by on either Buford or North Druid Hills. So then I found myself wondering -- am I having a nightmare or is this some sort of idealized fantasy based on wishful thinking? City amenities (if CVS qualifies as an amenity) without the city. One can dream.

Apparently, however, one cannot sleep in. I'm in training this week so do not have to report to work until the class starts at 9 a.m. My normal start time is 7. I could have been lazy, but my body obviously had other ideas. I have heard that once a person gets to be a woman of a certain age sleep disorders are common. I'm not sure I believe that. I do know that research has shown that older people sleep less than younger ones, which strikes me as incredibly unfair. A person retires, finally has the time to do absolutely nothing but snooze in a rocking chair, and then discovers he or she can't fall asleep.

As for the training, it's four days devoted to substantive editing. Large Nameless Agency is finally getting around to training me to do what I've been getting paid to do for the past 18 months. The training has actually been quite good so far. I've learned another technique for helping to make sense of disorganized manuscripts (marginal captioning) and have also had a chance to engage in bitch sessions with fellow editors. The nature of our work means we don't get to actually talk with each other very often -- we're scattered around LNA, embedded like ticks in the different centers we support, surrounded by researchers and scientists who never worry about parallel construction or dangling participles -- so don't get many chances to ask colleagues face-to-face if they've experienced similar weirdness with manuscripts or to share tips on dealing with problem authors. The social aspect of the training may be more useful than the technical.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to see you've reopened the comments. I loved this piece because I am the worlds worst editor of my own writing, but not too bad when it comes to someone else's writing. I suppose the reason I'm no good at my own editing is that I'm overly familiar with the material. And every time I do a new edit, I get drawn into the story and miss the small, niggling, but unsightly and annoying ticks of the poor speller. I rely overly on spellcheck which is great if the word your writing has only one meaning, or one way of spelling it. Context is everything, but, oh how I wish I had a real editor. I'm not hinting. At this point anyone with a good high school education could edit my novel. Anyone but me, it seems.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.