I’ve been so concentrated on my job interview for the editor position, that I almost forgot another almost-altercation I had this week in my current job, only a small portion of which is as an editor.
I’d returned a report to an author, very lightly edited. It was actually pretty good, but the writer is still transitioning from being a scientific/academic writer to writing government reports. Equally dry, but just as complex and with its own set of annoying rules. I made the same transition myself, so I feel his pain.
Buried deep in my current project, I looked up, surprised to see someone looming over my desk. The author I’d just sent the report back was standing there, breathing hard, face red. He works two floors down, and he may have skipped the elevator for the stairs. This was the same guy that I thought was going to punch me over the insert of an Oxford comma, and division of a very list-y sentence with semicolons. I pushed my chair back just to make sure I was out of reach.
He insisted that my edits were unnecessary, and his command of English was excellent. He should be able to release his own reports without going through “someone like you!” I asked him some very technical questions about his paper, just enough to assure him that I understood his work, even though I don’t possess a doctorate in his field. I’d actually had to do a little research while editing it in order to fully understand it, but I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of telling him that.
I used my go-to approach with writers who object to edits. “Sure, you understand your report, and I understand your report, but at some point, someone in Congress is going to read this. We have to make sure they won’t just ignore it because their lawyer brains can’t grasp it.”
That placated him, somewhat. Offering him some of the cake I’d brought in for a co-worker’s going away party helped a bit as well. He left with a parting shot, “You’re still a grammar Nazi.”
I’m not a grammar Nazi. I’m a Grammar Paladin. Protecting the world from bad writing, and smiting misuse of grammar wherever I may find it. Champion of the Oxford Comma, and proper use of the subjunctive.
I may have to commission a piece of art depicting a grammar paladin. What would it look like, I wonder?
Summary: There is a legend in the passages of time and space, and Fai knows he is at the center of it.
Notes: Ah, um, so I haven’t written anything TRC for a while and then I was idly browsing the Kurofai tag and I came across this post and stuff…happened. Apparently I only get inspired by incredibly depressing TRC prompts now I dunno.