Sunday, November 17, 2013


a nice white wine for your evening glass
Not too dry, not too sweet. So perfect, it's hard to stop at one glass.
But yay, me! I have been doing it.

Thank you to the clerk at the Wadena liquor store for recommending this wine to Scott. He has been spoiling me with it.

Speaking of perfection brings to mind the discomfort of imperfection. 

Newspapers have what we call "production day," and on that long busy day I read most every printed page, determined to catch errors of spelling, punctuation, phrasing, design … anything that may have been missed during the first proofreading or inadvertently changed during the transfer of a file's content to the page.

On "publication day," which follows, I scour the issue that has been mailed out to subscribers, almost holding my breath in dread of spotting an error.

And usually I do find at least one imperfection, and shake my head, and grit my teeth. How could I have looked right at this and not seen it? My “eagle eye” is not perfect. Sigh.

Readers "out there" are every bit as critical; no matter how minuscule the oversight, they note it with some measure of glee or annoyance.

They don't know how many imperfections were corrected before the text ever got into print, and how much rewriting was done, and how much factchecking there was, and how much headscratching, and how many small decisions had to be made. They would be surprised and perhaps even impressed, if they knew, at the level of attention to detail in the news office. Instead, some hold any mistake up to the light and almost seem to scoff; they have caught us falling short of perfection!

They have no way of knowing how much sifting, sorting and repair has been done before the newspaper went to press. They see a finished product that has been sweated over behind the scenes, under the pressure of a looming weekly deadline. They never see the work in progress or realize how much fine-tuning was required. 

Maybe that’s because, like successful recording artists, we make it look effortless. “I could do that!” the audience thinks. "That's easy!"

I wonder if I will ever accept errors and oversights with a glad heart, or at least a balanced one. Mistakes are a cost of living, and they are to be expected; we have to continue doing our best in spite of them. That’s what human fortitude is all about: not letting failure, or imperfection, get you down or keep you there. If you learn something every time, your game should only improve.

Besides, if we were perfect our heads would swell and we would become top-heavy and tip over. It never hurts to stay humble.