No Bodies Perfect

There’s a reason I’ve edited others’ writing using green ink for the past thirty-five years; I hate bleeding pages. While many attribute their aversion to editing to their grade school years, seeing red ink on graded papers didn’t bother me too much. Mostly because there were few mistakes caught (note I said caught, not made). As long as I received a passing grade, I didn’t get too concerned over the amount of red ink. Then, imagine this; I began a career as a technical writer. This introduced me to a level of editing trauma I may never fully recover from. Has any other writers investigated to see if Post Traumatic Editing Syndrome (PTES) exists?

After my military service and several years programming computers, my need to write won out. Yes, we had computers in those days; they required card readers, reel-to-reel magnetic tapes, and lots of air conditioning. Before writing professionally, I used my God-given talents for communicating using the written word. I wrote magazine pieces, a few newspaper articles, and was editor for our local and district Lions Club’s newsletters.

In the early 1990s, I published an award-winning newsletter in Florida for Lions Clubs International. Our Lions Club’s “tail twister”, a person whose job was to introduce fun and enjoyment into each meeting, took great delight in finding mistakes in that newsletter. It was all in good fun, and the fine was only a quarter, but it pointed out to me how important copyediting is. I also learned to rely on people and not a technology to catch my writing mistakes.

After a few months of those fines, I didn’t quite see the “fun” anymore, and decided to have some of my own. I penned (or at least I thought I did) two short stanzas of a poem. It proved to be a big hit among my fellow editors around the different clubs across the state. I’m including it here for your enjoyment.

I have a spelling checker,
It came with my PC.
It highlights their four my review,
Miss steaks eye cannot sea.

I ran this poem threw it,
I’m shore your pleased too no.
Its letter perfect in it’s weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.

About two months ago, a subscriber pointed out an error in one of my posts on this blog. While appreciated, it reminded me of that old poem. To be clear; I was most grateful for my reader pointing out that error. In fact, I sent them a note of thanks for catching it and letting me know so I could correct it before others also noticed.

During my early business writing career, I was not that fortunate. After the mandatory editing pass, our user manuals and step-by-step instructions were a mangled mess of notes that were “bleeding to death” from all the red ink. Worse, while making the documents grammatically correct, the meanings, steps, and guidance was so unclear it became almost impossible for users to complete the tasks using the documents.

With time, and lots of patience on both sides, the quality of my writing and the documents my team produced increased. It was during this time, I instituted a peer editing function within my writing group. It served two purposes; lessening the workload on the editors and assisting us writers in seeing the value of quality editing. In ways, I was creating what we know as a critique group today; wherein writers help each other get better and present a more polished manuscript to potential publishers and their editorial staffs.

As a Christian writer, I’m finding a much deeper appreciation for editors. Mostly, I’ve found friendly souls whose sole intent is to make what I’ve written better. They catch my silly mistakes, improve the document’s clarity and conciseness, and help the narrative flow better. I’m a much stronger writer with the help of my editor friends than without them. In fact, it’s safe to say I’m not the writer my editors make me out to be.

All this has caused me to think about how much God overlooks my shortfalls; and loves me despite my human self. My reader friend pointed out the error in my post in a loving manner rather than with an accusatory tone. What a difference how we approach someone can make. I thought of 1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV), which reads “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ ” When I think on that, I can’t think of a better example of showing grace to someone.

God’s grace, mercy, and love have overcome many sins in my life. I must admit them; and ask His help to overcome them, but He is always willing to give me that opportunity to become more like His Son. Editors don’t expect my manuscript to be perfect. If it were, they might well be out of a job. Yet, they should expect our writing to be as clean and error free as possible; much as I suspect God desires us to live out our lives.

God doesn’t expect perfect; He expects our best effort. He’ll do the heavy lifting in our lives if we let Him. Click To Tweet

As for that fun little poem I thought I wrote? I dug through the archives and found a copy of that newsletter piece. While I may have written those lines in the vacuum of my office many years ago, others have added to it and claim an ownership I don’t wish to question. With that said I’ll close this post by citing a full-length poem by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar; entitled Candidate for a Pullet Surprise, referred to today as “The Spell Checker Poem.”

Citation:  Nordquist, Richard. “The Spell Checker Poem.” ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/spell-checker-poem-by-mark-eckman-1692348 (accessed September 19, 2019).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this whimsical post and I’ve brought a smile to your face and a moment of laughter into your life. Thank you for sharing a few minutes of your time with me today.

God’s blessings,

34 thoughts on “No Bodies Perfect

    1. Awww… thank you Ms. Dottie. Not sure I’ll ever be the writer my editors think I can be, but as long as they’re patient and willing to help me, I’ll keep trying my best ma’am. God’s blessings. Loved your post again this week by the way.

  1. thanks J. D. Your notes struck me as I too struggle with word as the careful notes to pass. I appreciate that you now trust in Jesus and have a shared ache to speak out to others and amen for that.

    1. Thanks Mr. Terry. I think all Christian writers always want to give God our very best. Am certain that’s one of the main reasons He made editors. So glad you joined in today my friend. Happy Thanksgiving up there in cold MN. Don’t overdo it when the snows fall please my friend; we’re not getting any younger.

  2. J.D., I learn new things about you in every post. Interesting writing and editing journey you have traveled. And I Iaughed out loud at the poem. 🙂

    My love for public speaking started when I entered my first oratorical contest in the fourth grade. The spoken word has always been my first love. Then in 2014, the Lord called me to write. I was “green” in the craft of writing for publication. I enlisted an author friend as a mentor and she marked up every hard copy piece I gave her to review with, you guessed it, a red pen. But I needed it…needed her. She encouraged me to go to a writers confernce that year and thus began my journey to hone the craft. I’m still learning and realize we are always students when it comes to writing and editing our own work.

    1. Well let’s see. In fourth grade you were nine or ten. That means you’ve been speaking for nearly twenty years. Now I understand why you’re so very good at it Ms. Karen. All that practice and wonderful God-given talents to boot. It’s difficult sometimes to look at a marked up manuscript or paper, but I’ve learned to view it as an opportunity and not a defeat. God’s blessings ma’am. And without question, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to editing my own work. I think that’s why “hearing” what I write spoken back to me catches so much more I think. Our ears are smarter than our brains (at least for me).

  3. I received several smiles from your post today and a chuckle from your poem. As a teacher, I’ve edited more papers over the years than I can count. My college students appreciated the bright blue or green pens (never red) that I used (although some of their papers look like I “bled” blue or green from the enormity of their errors). But, they learned, as we still do from our mistakes and from the caring feedback of others. Thanks for the smiles today!

    1. Wow! Now that’s my accomplishment for the day. I made the teacher chuckle! Woo Hoo! 🙂 Am so glad you enjoyed Ms. Katherine. And yes, sometimes our documents need a LOT of polishing. Am always grateful when it’s done in a loving way. Am betting you always made it a point to draw a smiley face or write “good job” at something you liked didn’t you? God’s blessings my friend.

    1. You just earned the biggest smile today Ms. Marcy! 😀 Thank you so much ma’am; and I’m with you. I’ve had PTES for many years now, but great editors I’ve met in the past couple of years are doing a lot to calm those fears.

    1. I think that’s a good thing, but then again I’ve never seen you when you’re not smiling Ms. Melissa. You’re my “Joy Lady” my friend. Am so pleased it brought a smile today. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your entire family (Licky too). 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am.

  4. That poem made me giggle! I especially like your point: “…as clean and error free as possible; much as I suspect God desires us to live out our lives.” I’ve encountered people who seem to use “not perfect” as a disclaimer; their excuse to do whatever. No, we are not perfect, but we are still supposed to be making an effort.

    1. I can just imagine your “little person” giggle now Ms. Robin. 🙂 That brings a smile ma’am. You are so very right with your “not perfect” disclaimer. Far too many so-called Christians want to fall back on Paul’s words in Ephesians “… sinner saved by grace …” and try to get by with “we’re just sinners.” My response is “You haven’t completed what Paul is trying to teach us. You left out the ‘saved by grace’ part.” In my simple mind, this means that while I am not perfect, I am a sinner saved by grace. I’m still a sinner, but my previous sins (and those future ones I’m bound to make while on this earth) are forgiven when I confess then and ask repentance. The “saved by grace” part, for me, denotes my requirement to do my part to be worthy of such a great gift. To prove myself worthy of this wonderful gift of grace, I must make every effort to learn and grow in my faith; following the example Christ Jesus gave us. Well said young lady. Thank you for your candid and thoughtful comments.

  5. Love your post! I really enjoyed how you connected the editor fixing typos to love covering a multitude of sin. God’s forgiveness covers all my stains so I can live perfect before Him. So grateful.

    1. I think that’s my favorite mental image of God Ms. Joanna; my kneeling before Him with head bowed in prayer and adoration. Between us, stands Christ. For when God looks down upon me, He sees Christ in me standing before Him, not the woeful, sinful human shell my spirit is currently inhabiting. Thank you for helping me stop to look at that thought again ma’am.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed Ms. Connie. I even chuckled a little bit when I thought about that silly old poem; remembering to roaring laughter I got when club President fined the “Tail Twister” that week for “having too much fun!” A few years later a country song was released by that name. You are correct though, laughter in life is important, but His grace brings much joy. God’s blessings ma’am.

  6. I enjoy reading your posts very much. Your poem about the spelling checker was a delight. I, however, have a different problem, it’s called autocorrect. It seems that whatever I type is not the same message I sent. Keep on writing J.D.; I enjoyed very much!

    1. 😀 Thanks Mr. Ray! I have that very same problem with auto-correct on my smart phone. Am certain my most-texted phrase is “Silly auto-correct. I meant to type …” 🙂 I guess we should be glad our phones don’t do a spell check. Am also glad God doesn’t use a red pen, but love, to correct me.

    1. 😀 I love it! Perhaps I should have titled this post “A Tale of Two Writers”? No ma’am; you ain’t perfect yet my friend, but you are sure getting close. Thank you for always bringing a smile Ms. Pauline (glasses optional).

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