Thursday, October 30, 2008

Self-doubt, ain't she a biotch.

I haven't been posting as often as I normally do, nor have I been leaving comments on other people's blogs as much as I'd like, and all this non-bloggy activity can be blamed on one thing: online school.

My school work went from la-de-da grammar basics to oh my gosh edit all these really screwed up sentences about the Oregon trail.

And let me tell you, I HATE anything and everything that has to do with the Oregon trail right now.

Sure, I love playing the Oregon Trail game (which, by the way, you can do so on Facebook), but to read what is essentially a mini history about the Oregon trail broken up into chunks that need to be edited for a whole mess of reasons? That, my friends, is NOT fun. Especially when you don't have the author around to query about bizarre statements. Or when you can't remember if the Lewis and Clark Expedition was successful or not (now I understand why people say the things you learn in elementary school will benefit you later in life, although I still refuse to believe suffering through math has done me a lick of good).

Case in point. Here is just one chunk I had to edit. One chunk out of a bazillion chunks, it feels like.

One of the Presbyterian missionaries who followed Jason Lee to Oregon country was Dr. Marcus Whitman, a missionary who arrived in the year 1836. He and his wife, Narcissa Whitman, who, along with Eliza Spalding, was the first white woman to cross the Rocky Mountains. Mrs. Spalding, whose husband was also a missionary, Henry Spalding, was the second white woman to cross the Rockies. Henry Spalding was also a Presbyterian missionary.

While I think I am a darn fine writer and editor, having to edit a ton of these types of chunks is killing my brain. On a high level, I understand the meaning. This guy was a missionary, he brought his white lady, she was the first to cross the Rockies, and oh yeah, the second white lady to cross was this lady, and she's married to this guy, and he too is a missionary. I get it. But making that read eloquently and interestingly? So not fun.*

I have spent a good hour on one single tiny stupid Oregon trail history chunk - rewriting, re-rewriting, re-re-rewriting, etc. I have been working on these passages every free moment I've had since Monday. I'm finished, which is a good thing because the assignment is due today, but now I'm faced with the "review" of my edits (self-inflicted), and I'd much rather burn my arm for the 100th time on the oven heating unit.

I had an epiphany at work yesterday. I decided I suck as a copy editor. Because deciding that gives me leeway to fail this assignment, and I do fear that I will do so because at this point, I'm so jumbled up with Oregon trail tidbits, I can't think straight. And I know all this self-doubt is going to kill my chances of obtaining a decent grade on this assignment because I probably have re-written these chunks as correctly as they can be written, but since I go back and doubt that what I've done is correct, I change it again.

And I fear I've turned into a comma whore. My edited passages are riddled with all these commas that I just know they aren't grammatically correct. At least I think so. See? Self-doubt.

I only have one month left of this class, and when I'm done, I think I'm going to sit on our couch and stare at the wall for a bit. After I'm done doing that, I'm going to rethink this whole editing thing and start thinking more about writing that book I always wanted to write. After saying this for years, I finally decided on a subject matter to write about, but I'm saving that for later. There was a very interesting chunk of time in my life that featured gigantic cockroaches and a dead guy. And this, I feel, makes for really good reading.

*As I was driving home from dropping off the boy at daycare this morning, I rewrote this chunk in my brain for the 101th time. I hate this class.

1 comment:

Kmommy said...

Too funny! I know what you mean about getting sick to death of something you are editing. Man does that suck. I love writing and don't mind the editing part, but it takes a serious love of your subject to really edit!! :) After I got done with my english honors thesis I was so sick of editing it that I wanted to burn it! :) And it was a subject that I loved to begin with. I just can't imagine editing to death something that you may only marginally like... ;)