Saturday, September 26, 2009

The end of a useful life and addressing my only shortcoming. . .

Distinguished U.Va. scholar and Jefferson historian, Merrill Peterson, has died.

On a personal note, he's a big part of the reason I'm in Virginia, for my first husband came to U.Va. to do graduate work in history. And Dr. Peterson's work on Jefferson--or Mr. Jefferson, as was really de rigueur in those days--was the maypole around which history scholarship danced at those days. I can remember going to Monticello for the first time, and, thanks to Merrill Peterson, feeling that I inhabited the place rather than visited it.

It's interesting for me to think about one person's professional life pretty much being dedicated to the study of another person. It seems, somehow, the essence of humility.

To change subjects completely, a listener I know only as Paula sent a nice note in response to the general e-mail Tom DuVal sent out about this blog. Paula, who said she doesn't usually have anything to do with blogs, had given this one a try and found it pleasant reading. She then, in polite and gentle parenthesis, had this to say:
(One small suggestion--in the interest of protecting the written language from "confusing convention chaos" (my term for the clash of old habits and spellings with newer or simplified codes)--plurals should not be indicated with an apostrophe plus s -- i.e. lose the apostrophe, save it for possessive case only)
I wrote Paula back immediately to say that although I know better, I can never quite get my mind into exacting enough gear to catch all my own miss-types. And could I use her e-mail as a way to admit this publicly? She graciously said yes, and so I hereby publicly acknowledge what Paula recognized as my great need for an editor.

By the way, my mother, who taught English at UNC-G, began pointing out my need for an editor to me as soon as I could write. I just wanted to let you know that Tom DuVal now has the means to go in behind me and clean up my blog posts. If you read a post that has typos in it (despite, I assure you, my own best efforts), it's because Tom has had other things to do and hasn't gotten around to WMRA blog housekeeping as yet.

Indeed, public radio is a team effort. In all its aspects. Thanks, Paula, for the push to address what I'm sure is my only shortcoming. . .

1 comment:

  1. I don't believe there are writers who don't need editors. That's not a crack on writers (I am one); it's just the reality that we all can use that second perspective. It may also be the best reason to get married.