What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Friday, February 22, 2019


Harking back to the Steal This Book posting of a few days ago. The book includes a section on Chicago with very specific addresses and place descriptions that I figured would interest my older son, now about a five-year Chicago resident (is that possible?).

I found, of course, a free digitized version online and sent him the link with instructions where to find the Chicago information. In scrolling through, I found this gem. If I have to explain it to you, don't worry about it. Or look up the trial of the Chicago 8 (or 7).

I wonder if I picked up on this when I was 12 years old. I probably didn't read any of the Chicago information. New Yawkers just don't do Chicago. But they should.

Chicago has a number of good law schools and you can often get some assistance or referral by calling them and speaking to the editor of the law school paper. You can go to the bathroom for free in the Julius J. Hoffman Room at Northwestern University Law School.

A Good Time Likely Had by All

Gentleman seems to be calling for a barbecue at his funeral in 1677; I don't think it's an animal sacrifice. Gentleman, by the way, is a free black man in Virginia, in the 1600s (obviously):

I King Tony Negro give unto my grandchild Sarah Driggus the first cow calfe either of my Cowes shall bring . . . my steere & one hog bee spent by my Executrix and loving wife at my Funeral when I depart this life. All the rest of my estate whatsoever unto my loving wife Sarah. 6 February 1677. witnesses: Peter x George, Daniel x Webb.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Book Title of the Day

Squire, S. (2008). I Don’t: A Contrarian History of Marriage. Bloomsbury Press.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Perks and Quirks

A blessing of my job is what a wonderful education I am paid to receive, at least what I remember of it. A curse of my job is the depression that ensues when book after book after book just tells you that everything you've ever known is wrong. I mean, even if you never really gave a crap anyway, it gnaws at some level.

The topic is evolutionary biology, not usually one that works me up. What's wrong is the assumptions that folks make about what human nature is.

I showed my wife the title and subtitle and said, "Sounds interesting, right? About 25 percent of it will be." Yeah, maybe about that. Twenty-five percent of it is notes and bibliography that have to be rewritten by yours truly. Imagine my glee.

As an editing colleague once said, bemoaning having spent the last 16 work hours rewriting and researching the holes in a bibliography, "It's amazing to think that people are paid the same as we are to edit young adult fiction."

I'm not sure what my tolerance level would be on that stuff. I'd be happy to do a few books a month, but I don't think it could be my only source of income, even if easy and breezy. Hell, I wasn't wild about young adult fiction as a young adult. Might have been better with a paycheck.

I'm still waiting for some lesbian science fiction. . . .

Friday, February 15, 2019

Lattice Posting

Valentine's Day has come and gone. Tere was going to knit me something in the last few days, which is like a dual shot of things I don't need -- whatever she was going to knit, and deadline-induced panic and frustration. I cover enough of the latter territory on my own.

I asked, as plainly as I've stated it for years in some form to each of the members of my family, "Would you just get me something I've been asking for for years? The shipping will cost more than the goods, and together they won't crack ten dollars. I think no one's paid attention to my request because it's seemed too inconsequential. I'd rather get something that obviously means something to me than someone buying me something that doesn't."

This holy grail? A copy of Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book. I cut my teeth on it when I was about 11, and I wanted it not only for reminiscence but also because it's a wonderful snapshot of New York City before all the bad neighborhoods downtown went yuppie and beyond. Lo and behold, yesterday I received a copy for Valentine's Day. Not one of the original versions with the black cover, but still the typesetting was the original plates. I'm looking forward to reading back through it.

One of the things I remember reading as a yute was about making sandals from old tires, and I did happen to open to that page today while walking back to my office. I then sat down in front of the current manuscript, not 20 seconds later, and read,

"[Name] had a pair of sandals made here—the peasant kind that’s common to this area (wait till you see them—they’re so ugly, they’re neat!). Anyway, his feet are so big that the shoemaker was just amazed. The night we went to get them fitted to his foot, half the village came to look. The shoes are made with tire treads for the soles."

That's One Approach to the Crime Problem

Anyway, Skyros is known as the most mysterious island (by the Greeks). The people here have been the most isolated and so live very much by the old traditions. Until 1925, any policeman who came here was immediately murdered. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sage Words from a Pianist I've Been Listening to Recently

Mal Waldron moved from Munich to Brussels in the 1990s, stating that, in Belgium, "Nobody stands on the corner waiting for the lights to change. In Germany they watch the lights instead of the cars. The lights never killed anybody." (Wikipedia)

The Never-Ending Episode

Nothing wrong with the book, but you can piece together the like quotes and understand that this project has been on my mind way too long -- an index scheduled before the partial indexing ban was instituted, although I'll likely take indexes from this publisher as long as they offer them because there's just something to be said about being nice in this world:

Francis Harper and Arthur Leeds’s archival research in Philadelphia coupled with that conducted in London by Francis Pennell and Professor Ernest Earnest of Temple University during the course of Pennell’s literary and biographical research had identified Bartramian manuscripts and copies that had received little previous study.

Let it also be known that the headmaster of my rightfully much-maligned high school had the name of William Magavern Williams. And he graduated Williams College.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

This Footnote from Science History

The Delaware Museum of Natural History was founded by John DuPont based on his personal shell collection, for which Abbott had provided guidance. DuPont served as president (chief executive officer) of the museum and chair of the board. In 1996, John DuPont shot and killed wrestler David Schultz, an Olympic gold medalist who was living and training at DuPont’s sprawling estate, Foxcatcher Farm. DuPont was found guilty but mentally ill in the shooting death, and he died in prison in 2010.

Friday, February 8, 2019

David Eisenhower? Stephen King? Some Other White Dude Who Came into the Cracker Barrel Last Week?

The consensus is apparently in. I'm now a lookalike for "Doc" from Back to the Future. There's no doubt that if I grow my hair out, it is Santa Claus white and, without any product application, sticks out perpendicularly from my temples. And I suppose what passes for my calm these days is something approaching Christopher Lloyd's crazed.

I still don't think I'll ever recover from the Bristol Krispy Kreme ladies all agreeing that I looked like Stephen King. And that was about 15 years ago. In retrospect, I'm pretty impressed that the staff could call up the image of an author, even one whose face should dissolve camera lenses.

Found this amusing piece on the S. Kings, though. I'm personally tired of being mistaken for every nameless hack who looks like me, and there are a ton of us out there, if a lifetime of my hearing it everywhere I go is any indication.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Best Rest for Editorial Eyes

Also happens to be the best website ever.

You're welcome.

To Be a Christian in Much of the United States

Means that you must take this statement as scientific proof that the Noahic flood occurred right on time about 6,000 years ago. If that ain't your thinking, better get you to Amazon and find you a set of fireproof britches:

The great Apalachian Mountains, which run from York [Hudson] River back of these Colonies to the Bay of Mexico, show in many Places near the highest Parts of them, Strata Sea Shells, in some Places the marks of them are in the solid Rocks. ’Tis certainly the Wreck of a World we live on! We have Specimens of those Sea shell Rocks broken off near the Tops of those Mountains, brought and deposited in our Library [the Library Company of Philadelphia] as Curiosities. If you have not seen the like, I'll send you a Piece.
—Benj. Franklin

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Some Things Never Change

Florida has always been over valued; it therefore becomes our duty to lay aside the expectations of an El Dorado or a fountain of immortality, and by a diligent scrutiny, by practical experiments…strive to discover the best uses to which our newly acquired territory can be applied.

—John le Conte, 1822

"I Read the News Today, Oh Boy"

I shouldn't have bothered. I am better off not knowing, not discussing, not responding, not venturing, not caring.

If you were in medical school and the army in 1984, with even a hint in your already twice-darkened soul of political aspirations, the closest you should have been to anyone in blackface or Klan pajamas is a photo in a library book that you weren't looking at. Jesus.

Democrat or Republican, one should typically fear doctors-turned-politicians. One ego-crazed profession in a lifetime wasn't enough juice?

Friday, February 1, 2019

Catch, Document, and Consume

Further along, he saw and again reported (this time in more detail) the Florida limpkin, “a very curious bird…called…the crying bird. I cannot determine what genus of European birds to join it with.” Earlier on his voyage, he had named and eaten the “type” specimen of limpkin. Bartram’s drawing of “The Crying Bird,” published by W. P. Barton in 1818, serves as the type.