Thursday, April 19, 2007

One of Your Dime-a-Dozen Mediocrities

"Really, Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I'm afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time."

This is about the time when colleges start doling out awards and honors for graduation. I'm not getting any, which I've known for a long time, and it was never my goal to get any. But, still, I feel sort of, well, mediocre. Like I'm not particularly good at anything or exceptional in any way and that I will not leave any mark on this place, where I have toiled for four years. I love Columbia, but maybe it doesn't love me. And maybe I'm not exceptional in any way, but it's a sucky feeling to not be recognized at all.

Which makes me wonder if I'm going into the wrong profession. After all, copy editors are notoriously unrecognized. (My brother helped this sentiment while I was home for Pesach by asking incredulously: "You really want to be a copy editor? A copy editor? You have a Columbia degree and you're going to be a copy editor? It's like being a janitor.") I sometimes refer to copy as "the bastard child of journalism," and if I want to do this, I have to be OK with that. Because at the end of the day, copy editors don't get the bylines and they don't win the Pulitzers--and I'm not saying they should; I'm just saying I have to be OK with that going in.

My copy-editing hero (yes, I have one) has this quote in one of his books:

“As an editor, you do sometimes feel as if you weren’t invited to the party. But you should already have known that when you took the job, and editing is by definition a behind-the-scenes job. Sometimes it’s a creative, prestigious behind-the-scenes job, and sometimes it’s a lowly, grunt-work behind-the-scenes job, but either way you have to get out of the shot and let the actors be the center of attention.”
And I'm just not convinced that I will always be content with being behind the scenes.

In other self-esteem-lowering news, I found a nasty comment about me on a blog I shouldn't be reading anyway, but do. It was anonymous, though, so I don't even know who apparently hates me, which makes me really paranoid of everyone, which is less than healthy. Sigh. And it makes me doubt the usefulness and intelligence of blogs. Which is funny because I have a blog, and I'm blogging that skeptical sentiment. Right.


At 4/19/07, 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the other hand, if you edit a book you sometimes get a thank you on the acknowledgments page. And, think of it this way, you're actually getting the chance to improve some of the junky lit released into the world. :)

--a freelance proofreader/editor

At 4/20/07, 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As one of our friends once told me "you are graduating from Columbia (which you, unlike me, actually are doing) you have the world open to you." There is no way that you are a a "dime-a-dozen mediocrity". Columbia might not recognize your amazingness because Columbia is silly and fails to recognize people who deserve it. If there was an award for loyal friendship, intelligence, and general awesomness, it would be yours. I am leaving this as anonymous because I think I should try to tip the balance towards nice anon. comment.

At 4/20/07, 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. And, it's not possible that someone working where you are this summer is a medicority.

At 4/24/07, 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok so you got the anti-blogger to read your blog--does that get you an award? I'll deliver your plaque tomorrow. Hope your exceptance speech is ready.

At 4/24/07, 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly I spelt acceptance wrong so I could be cool like you and have something to copy edit

At 5/1/07, 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi there missy,
you don't know me, but i wanted your blogspot name and thus found your blog...and i, too, want to be a copyeditor.

i'm writing, though, because i also found something nasty written about me on the internet a little while ago, written by someone who i had never even talked to before. the moral is: you're probably far more fantastic, intelligent, and self-aware than that person, and she/he is pissed about it.

good luck and all the best, stranger,

a fellow copyediting blogger


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