Some have noticed how my posts, between the moment I hit the publish button and the time you finally get around to reading, have substantially fewer typos. No, it’s not because I’ve invented a blogging program that cleans up the errant finger poke of an old lawyer. It’s the kindness of others, upon which I rely.
Whenever some snarky youthful lad would comment that I used the wrong word, spelled something wrong or included (or failed to include) an apostrophe, causing massive pain to his law review editor eyes, I would invite his aid to edit my posts. Regular readers know that they come at a quick clip, and aside from spellcheck (a generally worthless endeavor but one I use out of habit), I never edit my blawg posts. No, they are not appellate briefs, and no, they do not receive the attention given to work on behalf of clients.
Despite my invitations, none of my snarky lads ever lifted a finger to help. However, some others have. For a while, Jdog would clean up my act. Ed at Blawg Review would let me know my many errors. But after Jdog was co-opted into the Obama Administration as First Muse, and Ed took up travel on the professional golf circuit, I was back to where I started, alone and unedited.
To clean up my miserable mess, an angel appeared. Marilou Auer, renown on twitter as @MarilouTheClerk, felt my pain and anguish. It started with an email, a few typos corrected. Since that first email, it’s never been the same.
Thank you, Marilou. Thank you for the gift you give me every morning when you let me know what I’ve done poorly and what I can do to do better.
I asked Marilou to tell me about herself, aside from the excellent taste shown by her preference for the New York Yankees despite living in Virginia Beach, and here’s what she said:
I’ve been a legal secretary, with a few interruptions for other ventures and having two babies in two years, for 35 years or so. I’ve been blessed with some good employers who taught interesting things.
I live in Virginia Beach and am currently not working outside the home but am learning to do virtual-assistant-type work with a friend from another state. I nearly failed English class every year in high school and the one year of college that I attended. My grammar knowledge and spelling ability are a direct result of my Mother’s insistence on speaking correctly and reading to me daily until I was old enough to read for myself. Those were great gifts.
I proofread blogs as a substitute for the morning crossword puzzle. Reading carefully and concentrating gives me the mental wake-up that I need to start the day. I never mean to be insulting when I correct other people’s work, I just like the challenge and am thrilled when somebody welcomes my suggestions. It’s hard for writers to catch everything when they’ve seen their work several times already in the process of writing and editing and rearranging, so I enjoy being that “fresh eye” that even the best writers sometimes need. And I learn something from every post I read. It’s a win-win for both of us.
I’m always a little nervous the first time I send an e-mail to a lawyer with a suggested change. I worry that he might be offended. There are some who believe a blog post isn’t worth taking the time to correct. I disagree and believe when a lawyer takes the time to write a post for his peers, he should make his post the best it can possibly be. Lawyers never know when their writing is going to be quoted, and a lawyer’s writing reflects the attention to detail with which he can also best serve his clients.
It’s kind of embarrassing to write about myself, but I wanted to be sure to say that I didn’t mean to act as if I think I know it all when it comes to spelling and grammar; I just like proofreading! The things that I suggest for correction are things that anybody would find; it’s just that I take the time to make the suggestion instead of just ignoring the error. And if just one person reads to their kid more, my job is done for the day!!
If you want any personal stuff, I have three daughters who are all doing well as adults, and I have a two-week-old grandson who has been a life-changer for me in a number of ways. I’m working on things that most people are working on, including losing weight, getting more exercise, finding mental challenges, and downsizing my possessions!
And I like you proofreading my stuff. I’m very glad it’s a win for you, because it most assuredly is a win for me.