Most of the time, a press's managing editor sends me a job, and I edit and return it to the managing editor. No mess, no fuss. I also can say certain things to the managing editor about a book that would be more difficult to say to an author.
[Sometimes, though, I wonder if presses don't always know when there's such a problem with the manuscript, and they want the anonymous copyeditor to blame when they bring the hammer down on the author.]
When I'm put in touch with the author, I can't hide behind the anonymity that copyediting usually provides. Thankfully I've never had the paths cross of Author Contact and Rancid Book. I recently had one back to back with the other, and I started thinking how fortunate that the author I was dealing with had written a very nice book and wasn't trying to pass off a bunch of financial and demographic research done in 2004 in the present tense as if it were still relevant.
But I digress. Imagine that.
In a recent project I copyedited, the press had coded the book before it came to me. Thus, the material below in angle brackets appeared before most blocks of copy. The material following the second bracket is what the code stands for:
Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Hope it was a good one. We forsook the home event, and three of us -- myself, my wife, our younger son -- drove to Weaverville, NC, to a nice little restaurant and had a delightful meal and walked around a little afterward. Back home, nothing but another night at home. Nice change of pace. No preparation, no clean-up, and 90 minutes or so of quiet conversation that might be better than we'd get at home, with all the jumping up and down around the table that would be going on. My younger son's the type whom sometimes you don't know what's going on until you ask, and some of the time you don't even know what to ask, so the occasional direct answers and questions we get out of him in such situations are always helpful. His older brother has gone through parts of his life when we seemed to hear most of the goings-on in his head. That has never, ever been the case with our younger issue. I guess there's benefits to both. And it comes and goes. Once our younger son gets on a roll, it's nice to find out what's happening in his life.
I'll probably fry a turkey at Christmas, but I think we just made it a family tradition to get the hell out of town and go eat somewhere else on Thanksgiving. I guess it's our Central Appalachian version of Thanksgiving in Chinatown, which we've also done. With Asheville and environs 75 minutes of a beautiful drive down the road, that's not a problem.