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Posts Tagged ‘Golden Retrievers’

typos

Hi, everyone.  The air has changed in Southern California.  The heat of late summer that drives my breath back into my lungs, has suddenly dissolved into a cool, clear breeze.  It feels as if the world has come back into focus.  I’ve broken out the Pumpkin Spice candles and the Gingerbread tea and wrapped the house in garlands of silk autumn leaves that I bought on sale at Michael’s because the trees in SoCal are not going to provide real ones.  (Sigh!)

Our new puppy has come home.  Summer Moon.  She’s an English Golden Retriever. She isn’t golden, at all, of course.  She’s as white as the full moon.  Hence her name.  “Moon” because of her color.  “Summer” because she came home in late summer.  She looks like an angel but is full of mischief.  Her big brother, Rhythm, doesn’t quite know what to make of her.  She has two speeds: “on” and “off.”  And when she’s “on,” nothing in the house is safe from her tiny teeth, including Rhythm’s tail.

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I’ve just finished uploading the corrected manuscripts for Mirror, Mirror, so now the paperback version will soon be available on Amazon.  I used three proofreaders this time for the manuscript, and the last one read every one of the 120,710 words aloud plus punctuation marks.  When I was an editor/proofreader, before I went to law school, this is the way we read the final version of manuscripts because we had the best chance of catching errors by reading aloud.  So this time I thought I was safe from complaints about TYPOS.  But alas!

About a week after Mirror, Mirror had been published as an ebook, I got the message from Irate Reader.  “I like your book BUT—” Insert drum roll, thunder and lightning. “BUT it has TYPOS!!”  No hint of what those TYPOS might be.  I felt as if someone had sent one of my children home from school with a message pinned on his/her back, “Your child has CHICKEN POX!  Your HORRIBLE EXCUSE for a Mother!”

My first reaction was to protest.  Three proofreaders, I told her!  Every word and punctuation mark scrutinized, aloud!  But, alas!  Irate Reader was unrelenting.   Her next email cut even deeper. She called me, “UNPROFESSIONAL!” I had a big Breneˊ Brown moment after that.  If you don’t know about Breneˊ Brown, she describes herself as a “shame researcher.”  She is a professor at the University of Houston, who has written on the topic of shame and how it affects our lives.  When Irate Reader’s wrath descended upon me, I had been reading Dr. Brown’s book, I Thought It Was Just Me (But It isn’t).  And I knew that the paralyzing, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach was shame.

Despite my best intentions, I’d humiliated myself in public, by telling a story that I had hoped many people would enjoy.  I wasn’t a woman with three post-graduate degrees, all cum laude.  I was an UNPROFESSIONAL with TYPOS.   Sort of like a careless excuse for a mom who’d sent her kid to school with CHICKENPOX and now the child had to be sent back to the incompetent parent.

I was deeply hurt by having my imperfections hurled in my face.  I thought about taking the book down.  FOREVER.  I’d worked so hard on it every night for six long months.  I’d worked on it on the nights when my heart had been breaking because my Golden Retriever Melody was dying.  I’d worked on it on the nights when I’d been so tired that I couldn’t see the page because I’d been writing for the courts of appeal all day.  But I had kept on going because I had thought my characters were telling me a story that would entertain and touch hearts.  And I’d launched that story into the world after so much time and care, happy and proud, and hoping to find readers with hearts to be touched.  But, now, within a week of its publication, it had been deemed worthless. TYPOS!  UNPROFESSIONAL! All because I’m not, and never will be, PERFECT.

“The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting.”  Breneˊ Brown

Since self-publishing has become an option for writers, a myth has grown up that self-published writers are the only ones who launch books with typos.  That was the gist of Irate Reader’s “UNPROFESSIONAL” (SNIFF) label.   I got a does (dose, get it?) of this prejudice early on when I published my first novel, Dance for A Dead Princess.  At some point, one of the TOP 100 AMAZON REVIEWERS got her 3-star hands on it.   But she didn’t stop at 3 grudging stars.   She went straight to the top, to THE ZON itself and advised that I was illiterate. Why, there were whole sections of the book that hadn’t even been spellchecked!   REALLY!  THE NERVE!

Turns out, Ms. TOP 100 didn’t understand that the Tudor diary of Thomas, Carey, the First Duke of Burnham, is written in my approximation of Tudor English. That means the way Shakespeare wrote and spelled.   THE ZON backed way down after I explained the development of the English language and added, “Bet you wouldn’t have sent a QUALITY CONTROL NOTICE to Random House!”

So, just in case anyone else out there besides Irate Reader and Ms.Top 100 thinks that TYPO’s are the exclusive manifestation of the ignorance of self-published writers and that all the brains belong to the traditionally published ones, let me offer the following examples of TYPOS from novels you will recognize (and by the way, editions of these WITH TYPOS are worth hundreds of dollars)

Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy

Characters are referred to as “harmoniously abandoning themselves to the rhythm of the music—like two small chips being tossed about on a rough but friendly sea.”

Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth

A wall against which people set up their huts being described as “It stretched out long and grey and very high, and against the base the small mat sheds clung like flees to a dog’s back.” Editions of the book that include the misspelling can go for as much as $9500.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Some copies of this book are valued at a small fortune for this reason. On page 53, in a list of school supplies that young wizards are expected to bring to Hogwarts: “1 wand” is listed at both the beginning and at the end. That said, the typo did reappear in a few later printings even after it was caught in the second round, so it’s only the true first editions that are worth beaucoup bucks. [This example illustrates just how hard these pesky little TYPOS are to eliminate even after they have been found.]

“The Wicked Bible”

The1631 edition of the King James Bible by Robert Baker and Martin Lucas included an accidental new twist on the 7th Commandment, informing readers that “Thou shalt commit adultery.” This managed to incense both King Charles I and the Archbishop of Canterbury—its publishers were hauled into court and fined £300 (a little over $57,000 in today’s U.S. dollars) for the oversight and they had their printing license revoked. Most of the copies were subsequently burned, and the book picked up the sobriquet “The Wicked Bible” or “The Sinners’ Bible.” Only about 10 copies remain today—one was put up for sale by British auction house Bonhams just last year.

As for me, I went back over the book one more time.  I found some commas that only I would notice were out of place.  There were a couple of repeated words, a few line breaks, and an “it” for an “in.”  One very kind reader wrote to tell me that my dates were wrong at the beginning of one of the chapters.  (Bless her.)

So the corrected version is up.  I’m sure there are more TYPOS out there because perfection is unattainable for me.  But here’s the deal.  If you find any more and email me with the error, its location, and your address, I’ll send you a Starbuck’s gift card for a cup of coffee.  And I’ll send you my greatest thanks for liking my stories and for being my friend.   Even though I’m not perfect.

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Last Saturday began as an exceptional day for me. I normally have to work at least part of every weekend, but last Saturday, in honor of the Memorial Day weekend, I decided to give myself the day off.

I got up early anyway because I wanted to enjoy as many waking hours away from law practice as humanly possible. I fed my two Golden Retrievers, Melody and Rhythm, and headed out for our usual morning walk. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we walk to the nearby duck pond night and morning, to sniff the sniffs, walk up and down the hill, and see what the ducks are up to. Usually it’s relaxing to stand under the eucalyptus trees and watch the mallards paddle around while we look for ducklings. (Well, I look for ducklings. Melody and Rhythm are more interested in finding road kill.)

And for the first fifteen minutes of our Saturday morning walk, all was serene. But then, Controversy struck like lightning in the form of a Thin Blonde in one of those black velour track suits attributable to Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie before Rachel Zoe got hold of them. Thin Blonde came sauntering down the hill with a Starbuck’s cup in one hand and a dog leash in the other. Only the leash was not attached to her dog, a portly little brown and white bulldog. He was toddling along on his too-short-for-his body legs completely unleashed. He looked as if he was fixing to light out for the territory on his own.

Now, the pond is not set aside by the city fathers as a dog park. Dogs are welcome but only when they are on leashes, and there are at least two signs prominently displayed informing all of us of that requirement. Thin Blonde had just sauntered past the one at the top of the hill. Obviously oblivious.

Now as you’ve probably guessed, Melody and Rhythm obey the law. They are leashed at all times at the pond. There are lots of reasons for that decision, not the least of which is their safety. We have rattlesnakes in our area, and I want them close by me whenever we are in off-path, brushy country. But having them leashed is also courteous to everyone else who visits the pond. They can’t bound up to strangers (as they would love to do) and plant two big paws on their shoulders and give them a big dog kiss. They also can’t treat small children like puppies they can play with. Being leashed means they are required to have good manners when they are at the pond, and it also means we aren’t arrogantly occupying more space than we are entitled to. Other people can have their fair share of the pond and its surroundings dog-free when we are there. And off-leash dogs present problems for the rest of us who are obeying the law. Some of them are aggressive and pose a danger to other dogs. Some are just very playful so that Melody and Rhythm pull my arms out of the sockets trying to run after them. No matter what, an off-leash dog at the pond spells discomfort and trouble. And I try to avoid them and their humans whenever I can.

But no such luck on Saturday.

Thin Blonde looked at me and Melody and Rhythm as if we were creatures from Outer Space and drawled sarcastically (ok, Stephen King, it’s an adverb and you hate them BUT she was sarcastic), “Oh, do I need a leash?”

“Yes,” I said. “The ordinance is posted at the top and bottom of the hill.” And I pointed in the direction she had come and in the direction she was going.

“Well, you don’t have to be rude!”

And that’s when the morning was no longer exceptional. I hadn’t been rude; she had been because she’d gotten an answer she didn’t like. I’d been sucked instantly into a vortex of bad feeling where I didn’t want to be. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible and get myself back into my exceptional Saturday mood.

But as I was about to turn and walk away with Melody and Rhythm, leaving her to mutter as she tried to attach the leash to Bulldog who clearly wasn’t having any of it, the situation escalated.

There are several regulars at the pond who make it a point of honor not to leash their dogs. They are quite aggressive about their right to ignore the city’s posted requirements. I avoid them whenever I can, but there are times when their dogs get too close to me or to mine, and I have to suggest politely that they get their pet under control. And of course that is the last thing one of them wants to hear because they are determined not to do that very thing. They usually launch the kind of ad hominum missiles Thin Blonde had just launched.

So just as I was preparing to leave Thin Blonde to her own devices, a large, large woman with perpetually greasy gray hair who lives in one of the houses that backs up to one side of the pond appeared with her Golden Retriever. Her Golden has never, ever visited the pond on the leash, and she is one of the more outspoken advocates of unleashed dogs. She proceeded, predictably, to attack me verbally and to tell Thin Blonde not to leash her dog.

It is silly to get invested in moments like that. I walked home trying to shake it off. None of us had gotten hurt. I’d done the right thing by my dogs who are very precious to me. And eventually the city will be out to enforce its ordinance. I understand they write pretty hefty tickets for off-leash dogs at the pond. Greasy hair lady will reap the karma she’s sown in the form of big fine. And more than likely Thin Blonde will probably never be back. She didn’t look as if she was from these parts. Or if she is, maybe the city will catch her eventually and make her take a crash course in READING. Or the fashion police might find her and sentence her to a reality TV session with Rachel Zoe, who would force her to give up the velour.

Rhythm is thinking about swimming.

Rhythm is thinking about swimming.

Our Goldens, Melody and Rhythm behaving themselves

Our Goldens, Melody and Rhythm behaving themselves

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It all began on Wednesday morning when I found a large water spot in front of the vanity in the bathroom just off my bedroom. After sticking my head into the dark depths of the vanity (and living to tell the tale), I discovered a leaking cold water valve under the sink. Another piece of original 1978 hardware had failed in my condo.

About that time my son called from downstairs, “Mom, did you know water is dripping onto the living room floor?” Soaking wet myself from my shower, I dashed down to see the sodden ceiling just under the dripping sink. I grabbed a bucket and old towels and summoned the plumber.

Two hours and two hundred dollars later, the leaking valve was a thing of the past. But the fun was just beginning with the ceiling. The “Restoration” service attached to the plumber called to schedule an appointment and cheerfully announced they were going to tear out my wet ceiling “just in case.” Of what, I wondered. I suppose their theory was an absent ceiling can’t grow mold. But an absent ceiling isn’t much to look at. And how does tearing out my ceiling qualify as “Restoration”? I quietly and firmly informed them that, although I had telephoned my claim in to my insurance company and they agreed I was covered sans deductible, the Nuclear Option was not going to happen that afternoon. Couldn’t they just bring over some big fans, please?

Not long after that, a cocky “Restoration” specialist arrived to tell me they would bring fans, but the fans would sound like 747’s taking off, and they would run 24 hours a day. Mind you this is the area where I compose my unbrief briefs 24/7. Appellate work is a quiet scholarly activity. You do it in libraries, not on airport runways. And Mr. Cocky Specialist also informed me that if the errant ceiling didn’t dry out (and he fully expected it wouldn’t) they’d arrive on Monday to tear it out. I said, No thanks. And summoned someone associated with my insurance company for a Second Opinion.

Mr. Second Opinion was a very nice, quiet Hispanic gentleman who spoke a soft waterfall of Spanish to his female assistant. His peaceful demeanor was reassuring. He and the assistant measured and studied and figured and eventually informed me the upstairs wall between my bedroom and the bathroom was also wet. Mr. Cocky in his fixation on demolition had missed that. They said the 747 fans were unavoidable, but they didn’t think they needed to tear anything out.

I surveyed my options. Only I didn’t have any options. Large noisy equipment was going to have to take over my bedroom and living room, including where I work, until Monday. And I had deadlines in the Court of Appeal and I couldn’t just go on “Water Vacay” while I waited for it to be over. Plus my Golden Retrievers, who hate loud noise, and my son’s cat would never last two minutes with the 747’s in the house. Not me mention me, who hates loud repetitive noises.

So here I am on Saturday morning evacuated to a hotel that allows pets while the fans have rendered the house uninhabitable. The hotel is actually quite nice, but I would rather have skipped the ordeal of packing and taking everything down in the condo that the 747’s could damage. I was up really late on Wednesday night.

And then, too, there is the problem of uprooting dogs who never go anywhere except the vets and the groomers. You can explain to a toddler that the family is going to stay in a hotel for a few days while the house is fixed, but you can’t take two Golden Retrievers into a hotel room, turn on TV, and plug them into Cartoon Network for the duration. Melody and Rhythm are better today, but on Thursday they would not let me out of their sight.

This morning thoughtful Mr. Second Opinion informed me we can go home tomorrow. And he installed Hepa filters yesterday because I mentioned I was having trouble breathing from the dust the fans are blowing around. What a change from Demolition Man!

This whole experience has stirred up the homebody in me who loves to live peacefully surrounded by her little treasures. I see why I dream about traveling and then just stay home.

What looks like a fan and sounds like a 747

What looks like a fan and sounds like a 747

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