Monday, July 7, 2014

Be Careful Who You Quote

When I get stuck on editing the M-book, I turn to other books. Or to quotes. Or to internet surfing in search of helpful hints about editing. Or maybe I really am looking for that magical moment of ah-ha embedded in someone else's words which will make everything fall into place and I will have The Answer.


Or maybe I'm procrastinating. Like now.

But I was in a place where I wasn't able to work on the book, other than in 5-10 minutes stretches of time periodically and that was not helping. So I started another online search for a gem to share and to inspire me, somehow.

I found a quote I liked. The author whose page I landed on I had never heard of, but she had some good examples for editing and a short list. It was a familiar list, with one exception. Perhaps the one thing which was not familiar was just worded in a way I didn't recognize. But she opened with a quote I liked and which put a different face on editing. I made a few notes and emailed them to myself for this post. Then I clicked over to that author's webpage and gulped. From the look of her site, this person is not at all like me, at least not her author self as presented on the page. Her writing style is completely different, her approach to writing, her persona appears to be in opposition to a lot of what I believe in.

I decided to drop the reference to her essay or speech. It wasn't clear from her site which it was. Perhaps it was both at different points in time. There were also a couple of her examples and points I disagreed with, or questioned. Like I said, only one thing was new to me and when I read her examples, I realized it was new wording not a new concept which would crack open the editing process.

There was still the opening quote I liked. I decided I should look up the author of the quote and get more information about him before I posted the quote. Especially since I was a little surprised by the other author.

The author's name seemed familiar though I couldn't place him. I entered my search and then I saw why it was familiar. That quote is also now gone from this post. He is not someone I want to be connected to on this page. There was controversy and deception and when I realized who he was, the quote took on another meaning.

So the lesson learned today was to be careful who I quote. To do a little looking around before I post something whose author is not immediately familiar to me. We have free speech and these other two have rights to express their opinions and the "right to folly" or whatever it was. And I need to make sure who I'm holding up as an example or an inspiration.

So, instead of a clever quote, it's a warning. Oh, which also relates to editing: check your (re)sources.