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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Before the Shoe Falling Comes the Apple . . .

. . . which hasn't fallen far from the tree, apparently.

My 17-year-old son worked with me today. I gave him some of the most mind-numbing work that a proofreader encounters: checking the table of contents, chapter heads, credit lines, author names, and running heads/feet . . . for a 920-page multiauthor book. He kept at it, never got up (like father, like son), never complained, and asked great questions. I'm proud. The kid wants to be an actor (with maybe a secondary career as a rock-and-roll star), and I'm trying to convince him that having some portable freelance skill will help pay the bills wherever he goes, and he might not have to work in restaurants as much as his peers.

(Both Mom and Dad have worked in restaurants. Mom as a babe working as a waitron in a Buckhead/Atlanta barbecue joint made far better money than Dad working as a busboy in a college pizza joint.)

Whether he takes the advice, I don't know. The advice my own father gave me when I was 17 seemed ludicrous to me, but in retrospect makes perfect sense. But had I taken my own father's advice, I wouldn't be where I am today and wouldn't have the family I do. I might still have ended up OK, but everything works out as it's supposed to, more or less, and I'm doin' jes' fine. As I've heard in more than one place, if you had a group of people, and everyone threw their own problems on the table, you'd be grabbing your own back so fast it would make your head spin.

My father's advice: "You want to be an editor? Fine. Go into the army. You're almost blind, so you'll never see combat. You'll end up editing a base newspaper or something. Do that for 20 years, retire when you're 37 with a pension and benefits, then you can do what you want to with the rest of your life."

Really, pretty sound advice, and my father's particular brand of logic. But it was 1977, and I'd been looking forward to being a hippie since I was about 9 years old, and the armed forces would have put the definite crimp in those plans.

And these days, young readers, I'm not sure that having 20/off-the-charts vision is going to keep you from doing anything in our nation's service.

In sum, I got more than I asked for, and there ain't nothin' I need. And my son will actually be paid for his work today, which makes any 17-year-old happy.

When I was his age, I was a volunteer counselor at a day camp for brain-injured children, which isn't bad parenting training. And as a friend-of-a-friend's mother once said, "When I was 17, I was working for a Jew in a gift shop."

How'd we get here? Jeez, I need to get to work before this gets personal.

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