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.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Another Set of Eyes, Part 2

I felt like writing the first part; the follow-up, not so much.

After a king-hell panic attack on the morning of the ophthalmologist's appointment (like, let's get him to the doctor and find out why he's acting like he's got the DTs), I finally managed to make it to the ophthalmologist's another day.

Long story short: cataract in the right eye, about 75 percent developed -- taking my otherwise sterling -14.25 vision to something closer to -22, and uncorrectable.

Cataract in the left eye, getting started, enough to justify replacement of both lenses -- the ones that fit in my head.

After a literal lifetime of blurry vision, and 47 years of a foreign object on my face, I go into the doctor this week for the first of two surgeries to restore my sight to a place it's never been . . . fingers crossed.

And the new "another set of eyes" -- courtesy of some biomedical lab somewhere -- should get a good spin around the block rather quickly. February and March are already crazy.


I didn't mean to cut it that short. I'm not wanting to jinx anything, but it's obviously on my mind. And I don't want to talk too much. I fear the czarina was over it long ago.

I've begun to wonder what "blind" really means. I always presumed "darkness." But someone with two eyes of the current condition of my right eye could not live without assistance -- yet could "see" a whole range of things. As some guy I spoke to locally said a few months back, even before I knew about the recent developments, "People who don't see like we do don't understand that, for them, a speck of light in a dark room is a speck, but for us, it's a big glow." Exactly right, and I never thought of it that way.

Just like with, uh, Rush Limbaugh, who did his show while "deaf" for three months. I can't imagine that "deaf" in that case meant "entirely without receiving any sound." If it was, that's a hell of an accomplishment -- and I don't understand it. (Then again, I don't understand radio.)

Time for Dr. Frankenstein to replace a few bolts.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Another Set of Eyes, Part 1

It’s not a cliché as much as a commonsense statement that might spill out of anyone’s mouth: “This document needs another set of eyes.” That’s what I’ve been doing, one way or the other, for most of my life: serving as someone’s other set of eyes. Publishers are people, too, my friend.

“Another set of eyes” is shorthand for “I’m so tired of this document that I don’t want to think about it anymore. I’ve long lost any perspective on it, and I’m certain that I can’t uncover any remaining errors or improve it any further.”

When those eyes are in the head of a professional copyeditor or proofreader, people and publishers are willing to pay for renting them for a little while. Obviously they are — or you can make a dinner reservation for me at the Salvation Army Bistro.

But when that other set of eyes happens to be mine, things get a little tricky.

I was reading at age three. My great-aunt Etta Kaganov, a New York City schoolteacher back in the 1940s–1980s, told her principal that her three-year-old grandnephew was reading the New York Times. I think that when the principal disputed it, I was hauled in to prove it.

[My father said a few weeks ago I was probably just reading headlines. I’ll bet Aunt Ettie would beg to differ.]

Apparently I was a smart child. From the Jewish Community Center on Staten Island where I went to nursery school in the early 1960s, some way misinformed person thought it might be a good idea if I skipped kindergarten and first grade and went straight on to second grade.

Sure, that’d be a good idea in the long run. Put an already-too-shy five-year-old in with second graders. Add about seven years to get into the dating years, and watch the serious emotional damage really take hold.


Thankfully I didn’t make the jump to second grade. However, my folks did send me somewhere other than kindergarten for a day or so (maybe to be tested at the school I would be attending?), and the report came back: Is something wrong? The kid’s an idiot. He doesn’t belong here.

Hmmm. Let’s check his eyesight. Maybe he can’t see the blackboard.

Ya think?

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was five years old. I ended up in first grade, still a year younger than my classmates. It was the first step in how I ended up graduating college at age 20 — not because I was a great student (I wasn't, by any means — after fifth grade, anyway), but  more out of a desire to get to work and get the hell out of school.

When I was a teenager, optometrists said, “Your eyes will stop getting worse when you’re around 18.” I’m almost 53. Hasn’t happened yet. My prescription even impresses optometrists.

Bottom line: My only set of eyes (everyone else’s other) has sucked for years. They’ve always been pretty much correctable, though, as long as I didn’t mind inch-thick lenses, and I didn’t. (Yes, I measured. And this isn’t male enhancement.) Contacts never worked for me — first because the hard ones were too painful in the mid-1970s, and when I tried them again about six years ago, they ultimately didn’t give me the correction I needed.

I’ve said for years that my right eye wasn’t correcting as well as my left. No one listened.

In October, I went in for an eye exam because I realized that my right eye was no longer in focus, even with glasses. Like, not even close. With my glasses on, I need to be two inches away from the computer screen to read with my right eye only.

I’m at the optometrist, and we’re doing the usual “Is it better now . . . or now? 1 . . . or 2? 3 . . . or 4? 5 . . . or 6?” If you have glasses or contacts, you know the drill. But this time — after 47 years — with the right eye, nothing is better.


Think of how I make my living. Think of how a professional pianist might feel if she was losing the ability to move her fingers.

I peered around the device and asked the optometrist, “Can you please tell me what the hell is going on here?”

She reveals nothing and does a few more tests, which only exacerbate my dread.

“I’m going to recommend you for a cataract evaluation.”

To be continued . . .