Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Edit, Edit, Edit..... The Green Girl Gets Her Rant On.....

Well, I thought I was finished blogging for the month of September. I was incorrect. I have one more blog in me that I have to write now. Fair warning - here comes my first big blog rant.

I have a friend that is a world renowned science fiction author. She befriended me over 14 years ago when I was moderating a chat sight for America Online - back in the stone age of internet social venues. She saw something in me and talked her publisher into hiring me to edit a book. Let's be clear, I had never edited a book, I had no plans to edit a book, and I was shocked out of my hand-spun - hand-knit warm and woolly socks. All I can think is that my life long love of the written word and unfailing attention to the written detail (thanks Miss Downes) was something that said publisher thought would work in their favor. So, over the past 14 years, I have edited a few books, many articles, and academic papers - I guess I could say I am an off again, on again editor. Someone needs me, I'll be there to assist.

Back when that first book editing job was suggested to me, I had a hard time. Why? I do not like to judge others - I just don't! I like to think that most people are being honest and up front. I have been unfairly judged by people that should know better, not critiqued, but out right judged and sentenced as a lesser person by people that have no experience or education in said subject matter. So, I try my hardest not to judge, it is not my job in life. Then one day the publisher called me and said this, "You are not judging, you helping to refine a product, make sure it is accurate in its facts and understandable to the common reader. You are also helping to keep us out of court by making sure the author does their research properly and gives credit when it is due." OK - I understood this idea, that is the same thing we do in academics all the time. This is not about the person's character, just help to make sure everything is as it should be in the final product. Good, got it, moving on....

Rant Begins:
I know, why all the lead up, what am I getting at - move it along, get to the point. I will. On my last venture to the local library, I picked up two books that I thought looked interesting and educational. The author, Maggie Righetti. The books, "Knitting in Plain English" and "Sweater Design in Plain English." I started out reading KIPE and I must say that I closed the book exactly 26 pages into the volume. I am not judging Ms. Righetti, but rather stating what I would have done as her editor. I guess in the long run my beef is with her editor. This book discusses a lot of history without any notation as to fact. I cannot tell if Ms. Righetti has a seeing eyeglass into the past or is just bad at giving proper notation of where she gets her facts. Something her editor should have picked up on in the first review. Then she makes what in my opinion is a fatal mistake if you want a diverse audience to keep reading your book - she mocks people that use tools other than the ones she deems worthy. In her defense, she gives a list of reasons as to why she likes them best, but she chides the knitter that dares to disagree or have an opinion of their own by saying, "If you want to use straight needles that is your privilege; it is also your privilege to chew your animal hides to make leather." (pg.25)  In my opinion, she just negated all the positive reasons  that she eventually lists for using straight needles. This seems a huge editorial mistake. This one line, stopped me cold, made me close this book and refuse to pick it or her second volume up ever again.

Anyone that knows me personally or through Ravelry knows that I think each and every person has the right to use the type of yarn, needles, etc.... that they wish with no judgment from anyone else. There is no universal knitters code or test that one must pass before being allowed to call themselves a knitter, thus there is no right and wrong regarding your choice of materials. If something turns out poorly, well as many of us know those projects become gifts. We learn a lesson, we move on, we maybe even make the same error at another time, maybe not, but it is our individual process and if as an individual we could give a hoot then so be it, it is no one's business to judge.  All one needs to do is read a few of the posts in the many lovely forums on Ravelry to see that some people don't knit for the finished product, but for the experience. For example, if I knit to stay calm, I don't care what the yarn looks like or what tools I use, I need the calming effects of the motions to keep me from going postal at the next PTA meeting, etc.... You get the idea.

In conclusion - I'm angry and disappointed that a fellow editor would allow a book that clearly states on its cover that it is the only book any knitter will ever need, to be so bias in its statements and so lacking in its fact checking and notation. I am not saying that you should not read these books, just that you should know what to expect. These things may bother no one else and that's cool, but I cannot continue to give them my time.

Rant ends....

I shall now go and try to get my zen on and finish my second to the last test knit for the Autumn collection. I have taken a vacation day from the day job on Monday with the greatest of hope and the promise of all my efforts to complete the collection and get that puppy published on Ravelry in order to help give inspiration for those lovely holiday knits that will soon be flying off of your needles of choice.

Peace and joy to you all....
The Green Girl

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Dee this is not a rant at all, your simply pointing out her short sightedness and to give credit where credit is due. I've heard you rant before, and I'm sure the words flying off your finger tips would have been more abrupt if you were not trying to still be a lady about it.
Aunt Debbie