July 4th, 2008

ozarque figure

Personal note; ranting and raving...

Here's how I have spent most of today and most of the two days that came before today [with occasional time-outs for the thunderstorms]...

There was, as part of the Huge Emergency-Rush Project, this enormous document to be revised. Hundreds of pages of it. I had it on my disk, with filenames that all started with the word "FINAL." I also had it in the form it had when it appeared in the world in print. And I had a long list of things that were supposed to be added to it and done to it, including translating it into a different register of the English language.

This wasn't especially appealing, as tasks go, but it struck me as doable. All I thought I had to do was take the text on the screen and revise it according to that list, translating as I went along.

And then I discovered that although all my filenames had started with "FINAL," the client hadn't agreed with me. Between the time I turned all those files in and the time they turned up on paper, the client had decided that my work wasn't final after all and had taken it upon itself to do a major rewrite. And it hadn't occurred to the client to let me know that this had happened.

Which meant that -- before I could even start the revising I was supposed to do -- I would first have to go through those cottonpicking files, all hundreds of pages of them, line by line and word by word, and make my version match the client's version.

The only work I've ever had to do that was remotely as tedious as this has been was the summer that I was hired to type the entire list of names and addresses, on little waxy cards, of all the cosmetologists in the entire state of Missouri, in alphabetical order. And I think this is probably worse, because I was fifteen then and I'm almost seventy-two now; I was stronger when I was fifteen.

It has taken me three days now, and I'm about a third of the way through; there are therefore six more days of this ahead of me.

My mind... At the risk of being melodramatic, I think my mind has just abandoned me and gone away someplace where there's lots of dark chocolate to eat and lots of hearty Guinness to drink and no typing to do. If I had any idea how to get to where my mind has gone, I'd join it. I do hope it comes back, but I wouldn't blame it if it didn't.

In the meantime, I have the most monumental case of intractable blogger's block...