“In search, therefore, of an editor,” opposable thumbs not optional. Photo courtesy Jennifer Robyn Welles

My writing brims with them.

Typos. Invented words. Thoughtful substitutions made by the AI which rob the line of sense. “Not” for “bot.” “Withering” for “hithering.” “Affectopm” for “affection.”

Stubbed grammar also spots and rends. An unclosed quotation mark means the copy runs on forever. Ill, I’ll be. Were we where we’re wore?

Fast typing, clumsy typing, and let’s be honest. No reason to reread. Whatever trick of eye and brain and hand in circus combination made the error seem to stick its landing just prevail. Typos are like body odor, broccoli in teeth, tags on shirt backs, self-destructive habits à la money, love and men. We are blind to our own.

The cartoonist Berke Breathed, creator of “Bloom County” and “Outland,” once wrote a bit about his favorite author, Harper Lee, author of the Southern moral classic “To Kill A Mockingbird.” They shared a publisher and he wrote her a fan letter. Many weeks letter, he received her reply: on onion skin paper, typewritten, with corrections made in pencil and Liquid Paper embroidering the page. “If it had been spat spotless from an Apple computer, I would have thought the world slightly out of balance,” Breathed said. “I think she knew this.”

Penguins and lawyers fall outside my wheelhouse, but gumption have I some. And readers have I some. Kindly disposed eyes who rake my lines in search of lilt and voice they like. Filing down my rough edges in the passage of their gaze. I like to think the lingering errors endear me to them through the digital atmosphere. I like to think my extra “yous,” unneeded s’s, forgotten i’s and selective apostrophes make me real to those who read me. If the telling is, too, the story, I am a bag with one broken handle. My insides overflown with pages I must empty before their weight tears through my middle.

What can I do? The evidence is immediate. Pretend I meant to say it and I am on the hook for what is now conveyed. Admit I meant something else and w=you will know. I failed. This is obvious. This misspelling. This misapprehension. This cannot be massaged. I am undone.

In search, therefore, of an editor. Proofread me. Find the sensibility behind my messy sense, my mise en scène. Amputate my words; repair, bridge, attach prosthetics. Put coasters beneath the tumblers and cover the hole into which I fall through the rings on the table. Attenuate the decimal point so I may sit upon the checkbook without sliding off one side. Help me right a love story that will stay up on the wall.

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