Revisions: In Memoriam

May 30, 2011 § 8 Comments

On this Memorial Day, I am not sitting by the lake eating a hot dog. Nor am I throwing a frisbee around in the park with my dogs. Nor am I swimming off the coast of a white sandy beach.

No, my friends, on this Memorial Day, I am ensconced in my home office, work work working. I’m not looking for sympathy, really. It’s okay. I’ve observed the “holiday” in my own way. (It’s always bothered me that Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day are referred to as “holidays.” These are not exactly happy occasions. Not to my mind anyway.) I have shed a few tears to some rather poignant Memorial Day commercials, and I perused the ads for some great sales I wish I could indulge on, and I did spend my lunch stuffing my eye sockets with Bravo TV.

But mostly, I’ve spent my day paying tribute to the paragraphs, style choices, and quotes that just didn’t quite make the cut. Maybe they failed to make my point. Maybe they distracted from my goal. Maybe they only afforded me the opportunity to sound like a moron. Whatever the reason for their inadequacy, over the past couple of days, those instances have been meticulously excised from chapter drafts.

So, here’s to you, Personification: instead of using the word “I” and wearing my Big Girl Panties to argue with a critic, I relied upon you, Personification, to do the heavy lifting for me. Well, no more. No more shall I say “my dissertation argues that” and “the point argues against his thesis.” You are hereby banished.

Here’s to you, “Qtd. In”: only a marker for laziness, you lured me with the sweet promise that you would sufficiently cover my ass, and you tempted me away from doing my own research for myself. You are a seductress and a siren. But now I am a Greek soldier. Sing all you want, for I have stuffed cotton into my ears. I will forevermore rely on the original text itself.

Here’s to you, Generalization: when I was ashamed of my lack of knowledge, you whispered in my ear, “just say ‘most’ instead.” Little did either of us know, Generalization, employing the word “most” merely begs the questions “who” and “which.” Much like your twin sister “Qtd. In,” you reassured me that I would not need to do additional research. You have likewise been banished from the text. Most of the time.

Here’s to you, Lexical Errors: you shrink away from my eagle eye when I edit, convincing me with your pound puppy whimpers, “but I know what you meant to say….” Allow me to correct your shy attempt at misapprehension: meaning to say and saying are two very different ideas. I will find you, no matter where you hide. And I will eradicate you with proper sentence structure and concision, in spite of your pitiful pouting.

Hand me my screwdriver. I’m in the business of tightening this project.

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