I will copyedit anything: a coupon, a store sign, my own words as I speak and the speech of my loved ones. To them I may whisper a bit of sweet talk: “Yeah … so I think you mean toward, not towards.” I may coo a corrective whom in reply to a misguided who.
Here is my prediction: you will never speak to me.
My copyediting oeuvre is comprised of nothing. Rather, it comprises books, reports, articles, web content, marketing copy, academic papers, and a legal appeal for the convict (aka my cousin) who took me to the prom. Don’t like that serial comma? It’s gone! Never happened. Forget about it.
I adore systems and rules, a truth I lead with at parties. And then I put a lampshade on my head and recite the sequence of tenses.
Were I ever to have children I would tell them, “AP, APA, MLA, I love you. But, Chicago, you’re my favorite.” That tome is my first choice for the last word and for knocking heads when the kids get out of hand.
I check facts by compulsiona Polanksi film of fact-checking hysteria in which our heroine* goes mad as misquotes and untruths tear through the walls.
My substantive editing is the reflexive pursuit of clarity. Because when a person is trying to say something, and he,** in doing the work of trying to convey that something, tangles his words in a knotted snarl of redundancy and vagueness, then the something he’s seeking for positive benefit in regards to his ultimate message isn’t clearly elucidated. Am I right?
So for you, anything. Give me your books, your web copy, your impenetrable business-speak yearning to breathe free. I can charge by the project or the hour. We’ll work it out. As the myopic eye said to the optician, “Contact me.”
I’m at jjdruzzi [at] [sounds like gee, male] [dot] com.
*Isn’t every copyeditor a heroine (or a hero)?
**Let’s say the person is a man, so as to avoid the inelegant he or she and his or her. I know: they, their, and them wait in the wings, ready to be crowned singular pronouns. And they may be the best choice when it comes to antecedents of indeterminate gender. But I resist when I can. Viva la futilité. And a footnote is at least as elegant as an anvil.