Mistakes Are In the Eye of the Beholder

So I’m in “final” edit with Cauldron of the Gods, first in the Dragon Core series which will be released at the end of this month.  As the past few weeks have been – to say the least – chaotic – I elected to go to a café to work.  

I needed to get out of my head.

I was chatting it up with a new employee – a lovely person – the kind who just makes you smile – and realized the good fortune in coming here.  Not only did I get to try a new dish, I got a reminder that mistakes are part of life.

Especially, grammatical mistakes.

To put it in context, I need to explain that throughout the years – perhaps centuries – the rules of grammar have changed.

Nowhere is this truer than in the publishing world.

I was explaining that I’ve been struggling with this particular manuscript – for whatever reason – with various aspects of grammar.

Having a teen who is learning “school grammar” doesn’t help because when I help with homework I have to remind myself the rules are different.

I explained that the rules of grammar are fluid – a concept difficult to explain to someone whose grades are dependent on a textbook rule that may or may not apply in life outside the classroom.

Not to mention there are an entirely different set of rules for writing doctoral dissertations. To the degree you have to buy a book just to learn them!

She shared a story with me about time working for an advertising firm in Boston.  Her boss, apparently unaware of the reality of fluid rules, called her out for writing “had had” in a sentence.

She told me she explained that it was a legitimate use of grammar.

It is. 

 I went on to share that I once worked for a woman who went ballistic because I did a typo on a presentation slide intended for automotive suppliers, writing India instead of Indiana.

Perhaps I was prognosticating a more global supply chain that has since come to pass?

She berated me for the mistake, taking great pains to tell me how I’d humiliated her.

Funny, I never heard about it from the sales rep or the customers.

I actually approached the sales rep to apologize.  He looked at me in confusion then said, “Oh, that.  Don’t worry about it.  No one noticed.”

I wouldn’t say no one.

But as I pointed out to the lady waiting on me this afternoon – it says more about them than us.

And it reminded me not to hold my shoulders up over my ears as I edit. Life, like grammar, is fluid.

In other words, Go With the Flow!