Make Something: Glasses


The year was probably 1994 or 1995. I’d been out of journalism school and writing professionally (for pay) for a few years. An outstanding boss/writing mentor had taught me even more than my professors about using active verbs, writing tight, and eliminating errors. I was no longer “just” a writer. I was an editor. A good one.

This skill would be a valuable asset.

Or so I thought. Until that Sunday morning when I grabbed the Trib and a red pen and settled in at the dining room table to edit the newspaper.

Yes, I sat down in my spare time to edit the Chicago Tribune.

I used to read the paper. In fact, I used to read everything. Books, magazines, posters, pamphlets, manuals. But now I was obsessed, and reading for pleasure was not an option. As my editing and proofreading abilities grew stronger, my tolerance for errors weakened. Typos infuriated me. Run-on sentences made me itch. Lapses in parallel structure gave me facial tics.

About this time, I gave up the Book of the Month Club and joined BMG Music, so my mailbox filled with CDs rather than books. If those songwriters misspelled words, at least I couldn’t hear their errors.

In the past few years, I’ve been working to recover my passion for reading. Self-publishing and blogging give us the opportunity to read the writing of so many creative, thinking people …

… many of whom could use a good editor. But that doesn’t mean I can’t benefit from their ideas. If only I could ignore the errors.

Along comes today’s make something prompt: build a pair of glasses. They’re not pretty, but perhaps these spectacles will begin to address my problem. Here’s the recipe:

  • A giant pair of pink glasses, large enough to filter all the text and rosy enough to keep my view positive
  • A pot scrubber, to scour the language before it passes through my lenses
  • A couple of red pens to flag errors and suggest helpful revisions
  • An eraser to eliminate unnecessary phrases
  • A wine cork … because I might need a little something to relax into the words

What do you think? Should I pursue a patent?

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