June 9, 2004

You would have drive an oxen

I have before me THE COPY EDITED VERSION of gods in Alabama.

Color me DAUNTED. Pencilled squiggles in various shades are prancing mysteriously across EVERY PAGE. I have yet to hit a page with less than two little symbols infesting the writing. One notable page had over 20. I have no idea what any of these little symbols MEAN. I have to write OKAY or STET by every one of them. Okay means, "Okay to make the change that the little symbol is indicating you wish to make, so it is probably too bad I have no idea what the little symbol is indicating..." STET means "Please get your little symbols off that, thanks, because whatever it is you are objecting to, I did it ON PURPOSE."

My production editor is named Penina. SHE IS VERY PATIENT. I can tell she is very patient because I have called her 90 thousand times to ask about various little symbols and she has not yet dispatched a sniper to put a bullet in me. Or maybe the sniper is hung up at airport security.

DIGRESSION: In Chicago, post grad school, I had a job grading papers for a correspondence school. Scott's job paid our rent, but this little job let me be home with Baby Sam and still afford luxuries like food and electricity.

There were three kinds of students.
1) Home schooled children named Rahab and Malachai who had exquisite penmanship. I could grade one of their perfect essays in about 4 minutes.
2) People in their 30's and 40's wanting to get their diploma. Once again, four or five minutes to grade.
3) Expelled drug-ridden rebel naughty Sloppy Drunk James-Deany-Teenies whose parents had tied them to chairs and super-glued pens in their hands and said WRITE AN ESSAY NOW FOR THIS CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL OR WE WILL PERSONALLY KILL YOU. These papers could take an EON to grade as I had to make as many corrections to their sheets as the copy editor had to make to mine.

ACTUAL SAMPLE SENTENCE:
"In Oldendays you would have drive an oxen instead of the car of Nowdays."

In an essay entitled "My favorite Pet" I found this gem: "I have a dog. It is a poddle. It is a poddle named Penina."

I got so tickled with this Penina Poddle essay that I showed to Scott, and Penina Poddle entered the lexicon as a Thing to Call Babies. Girl babies were Peninas, and Sam was The Poddle all the way until he was three and became, at his own insistence, a mutant ninja turtle with an invisible pet cow named Ontag. At which point Penina Poddle sort of became a catch all phrase meaning anything sweetsy, and we even ended up making up a THEME SONG for Penina Poddle. You have to sing it like a rat-packer, and it goes like this: PENINA PODDLE! PENINA PODDLE! SCOO DA BE DEE BA! (repeat until death)

Now I have a production editor. Also named Penina. And every time I call her to figure out what a little symbol means (which is about every 15 minutes) she answers her phone and says "Penina" and all the rat-packers start singing the Penina Poddle theme song in my head. SCOO DA BE DEE BA! Not very condusive to making MS decidions that are, as Penina assures me in her cover letter, PERMANENT AND UNCHANGEABLE AND REALLY HOW THE BOOK WILL READ FOREVER AS WE ARE ABOUT TO TYPESET IT IN STEEL AND CONCRETE.

SCOO DA BE DEE BA!

I am beginning to hope the sniper comes soon.

Posted by joshilyn at June 9, 2004 2:07 PM