Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pages from my Book: Imitation by the Next Generation

This week, Tiny's complaint about glossy paper brought to mind my work at a digital press a couple of years ago. I would frown over paper samples at home and at work. I taught my daughter how to check for the correct run of a page's grain and for what stock best fit full-color illustration versus text. She would see me examining books wherever we were--noting the glue or sewing in the spine, checking the cut of paper, or running the weight of the paper against my fingertips. (I still hate cheap paper choices after all this time.) Watching my son grouse about the gloss of paper made me laugh. He even used the phrase "This isn't working for me."

Lately, I indulge not in sales of books, but editorial work. My days are happily spent weighing the value of a comma, removing errant apostrophes, or tidying up typos. Periodically, I will share a part of a paper with my daughter, discuss its flaws, or celebrate its success. As much as she seems to dwell on her own planet, she does absorb what she sees and hears. Evidence of this occured in church where I caught her doing the most incredible thing: circling all the typos and incorrect punctuation marks on her children's bulletin. God bless the little critic.

Perhaps, we could say the children have taken a page from their mother's book. Surely, if the kids have magically retained random and obscure lessons about paper, spine, cover, and text, then they have a chance of acting upon the lessons my husband and I teach daily here (manners, hygiene, cooking, how to love one another). While the children both seem to float rather blithely throughout the day, casually evading voices of instruction, reason, or caution, there are occasions where they demonstrate a bit of logic or a recognizeable semblance of the parent-on-duty. I hope our best qualities are reborn in these children--the hard-earned qualities of honesty, perseverence, and selflessness--but I am secretly thrilled that one of my children clucks with dismay when she sees a plural noun incorrectly flanked by an apostrophe.

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