Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Like It!

I was riding with Susan today in the car and we were talking about what's keeping me busy lately. To wit, copy-editing a 40-page article on the Battle of Port Hudson--Confederate bastion on the Mississippi that fell actually after the more famous Rebel stronghold at Vicksburg surrendered to U. S. Grant on July 4, 1863. Port Hudson surrendered to forces under the command of Maj Gen Nathaniel Banks after a 48-day siege.

"You like that," she said, meaning I enjoy editing. I agreed with her. And upon reflection--not much reflection required--I realize that I truly enjoy editing. And I'm very good at it. I'm sure the two are related. I have never gotten very much money out of this talent. As a professional historian I am part of that fraternity of scholars that does this sort of thing for nothing for a colleague. Hell, I've done several book-length manuscripts for friends. It's just what scholars do for one another. We read each others' stuff before and after it's in print.

Which is why it kinda pisses me off whenever I hear some blockhead bashing academics because they don't do anything. (Don't laugh. There is widespread sentiment to this effect out there.) Just keeping up with reading in their field burns up many hours for college teachers. Add to that these professional activities you do for somebody else, research, conferences, book reviews and academic articles, consultation with students, other office hours, and classroom stuff . . . well, any conscientious academic is a busy person. And not just during the school year.

Didn't mean to go off on that hobby horse just wanted to say that editing other people's writing is one of my most favorite things. And I'm not even an academic.
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