For the past day or so, I have been going back and forth via email, with a friend and former colleague, working on editing a paper for her PhD. The subject of the paper is not necessarily one with which I am well versed but as I perform routine clean up, make suggestions, reword, and (admittedly) find myself looking up definitions of words I know I’ve heard before but haven’t ever actually used myself, I’m finding my own response to this challenge to be personally astonishing. What I’m trying to say, in short, is that I think I might possess a little bit of articulatory genius.
I sort of hate to admit this, but I’m experiencing what feels like a mental high which can only come from the strategic placement of the English language from fingertips, to computer keys, to screen. Even as I type this confession, I realize the new level to which I have either risen or sunk. In fact, I can already count on one hand the number of my regular readers who are no longer with me on this post (my sister Laura, for one, I’m sure). I know. I’m a total freak. I’m experiencing a giddy sense of pleasure at getting into the head of someone, via Times New Roman size 12 writing, and helping her to say exactly what she wanted to say but couldn’t quite do on her own. I’m sort of mentally tingling with the academic exchange of ideas on a topic for which I otherwise have no personal invested interest.
Wow. I feel like I’m getting to lead conditioning training for some professional sports team. Only, I don’t care about the sport. And I really don’t even follow the team. But I just know they are going to be stronger because of me, and if they win more games this season, as a result of this one or two days of conditioning practice, I am going to count myself as partially responsible. And I’m going to yell at my TV on the night they accept their trophy, or whatever, “I DID THAT! That was me! In part.”
Oh. To be the man behind the man.
I just wish there was a way to solicit myself and make a living out of this. I’m thinking, hey, Obama? I know pretty much nothing about politics and world affairs, but considering that neither does 90% of America, you and I could really make a difference in the world with your speeches. “Bestowed upon?” Who says ‘bestowed upon’ outside of a church (and really, only at weddings)? No no no, just say “given to me.” “Forbearers?” –Okay, I understand that you didn’t actually type this thing so it isn’t your fault that you didn’t catch the red squiggly line underneath that word, denoting that it does not in fact exist in the English language, according to Microsoft, which could have served as your first clue– but NObody says forbearers. Just say, “The men and women who came before us.”
Hey people. I’m a writer. I can write. In fact, I can very likely read your mind and re-write your thoughts in a way that brings a similar kind of satisfaction to finding a pair of lost keys. So I’m just throwing it out there. My services are for hire. I can either work hourly or on a contingency basis, depending on the desired outcome of the document in question.
Maybe I should go to law school.