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The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

How Did I Get Here?

I have had that Talking Heads song in my head all day: "How did I get here?/This is not my beautiful life." And here's the thing--my life is actually pretty great. It's my job that is no fun at all. And my job takes up a lot of my life. It's unfortunate. Here's what's so discouraging: I am constantly reminded of the semi-illiteracy of our country through my job. And the reason why that's so discouraging? I work for a magazine! A (semi)professional publishing environment! With people who are paid good money (well, comparatively speaking) to write!

I did a lot of copy-editing today, which is what set me off. Before I came along, copy editing did not exist. Crazy, I know. Anyway, here's a little quiz for you: Do you know the difference between "presently" and "currently"? If not, look it up. They are not synonyms. And although perhaps the general public is not as aware as it should be, you would think that writers would know the difference. Alas, at my place of employment, it is not so. Also, no one seems to know the difference between "affect" and "effect," nor do they know that taxes can't defer health care costs, but they may defray them. "Company" takes a singular verb. A comma cannot be used to join two complete sentences! To wit: "Since 1971, South Carolina has regulated where and when hospitals build through its certificate of need laws, now a panel of state legislators is studying whether to scrap or improve the rules." Hasn't anyone ever heard of a run-on sentence?! Here's another one: "The total project cost is approximately $32 million, with the most expensive part of the plan the new 25-bed, two-story hospital building that includes a new surgery department and is linked to what will be a new emergency department and a new radiology building."

These people need remedial grammar. At the very least, they need to read the AP book from cover to cover. Is it so wrong to think that people who make a living from journalism should be capable of coherent, grammatically correct writing? Apparently so. This really bums me out. It seems as though no one even cares about a well-crafted sentence anymore. But at least this is a short workweek, so I can get back to the rest of my regularly-scheduled life, already in progress.


  • At 6:04 PM, Blogger Alexandrialeigh said…

    The good news is that having such grammar skills make you a BIG asset. It constantly amazes me how few people can craft a sentence without error.

  • At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You cannot "effect" what you do but apparently your work is "affecting" you in a negative way. "Presently" you should try to be more "affective" and positive in your work environment. Perhaps you can "effect" the writing skills of those around you. And hope springs eternal.


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