Friday, April 15, 2016

Born editor


My teachers had my best interests in mind in 1971 when they decided I ought to be a math teacher. They said I had the best grasp of math of anyone in our senior class.
The problem was that I hated math. I didn't want to get up in front of any kind of class, but certainly not a math class. Most importantly to me, I loved to write, and I was a natural editor. I'd open a book and immediately see mistakes. My motto could have been "I edit, therefore I am."
My teachers thought I wasn't a very good writer at the time, and they may have been right. They said I used too many big words, and they definitely were right there. (Quick story: A friend of mine told me I was bombastic. I had to look it up in the dictionary. It apparently means I use big words. Imagine that.)
I won the school's math award that year, and our valedictorian won the English award. She became a math teacher, and, well, I didn't. I became a career newspaperman.
I'd like to think I was born to be a writer and editor. I'm sorry, but I edit stuff. I edit phone books and road signs and business signs and cereal boxes. I edit e-mails and textbooks and even stories by William Faulkner. Great stories, but he needed an editor.

I wish I'd been around to help Faulkner.

More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
• Advice for be and would-be novelists

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

EDITOR@WORK blog entries

Entries from The Dog Blog

Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

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