High Low

by Mary Norsworthy

While visiting at my son Darren’s house one day, we had just finished dinner when he looked at his children and said, “high-low.” Thoughtful looks came on their faces, and I wondered what he meant. Then, one by one, they started telling about the high and low points of their day.

On a recent mission trip to Russia, Darren’s team and their Russian counterparts had played this little game. Since returning home, it had become a new family tradition in their home. I think it’s a wonderful way for everyone to share events of their day.  Now, I had just spent the entire day staying with my grandchildren, and I would have thought I had a pretty good idea of everything that happened that day to each of them and yet, amazingly, they told of little things that would have been forever unspoken and unshared if not for this little exercise.

Since then, it has also made me more aware of those special high and low moments of my own days. For example, I recently met someone I haven’t seen in years and my low moment came when an old bitter memory involving this unsuspecting person came unbidden to my mind. After chatting for a few minutes, my high moment came when I gave away this bitterness in my heart forever and always.

Just today, I was feeling down because I consider myself a go-getter and so very anxious to get my new business of copy editing and proofreading off the ground, but it has been slow. Now, I can be somewhat impatient, especially with myself . . . What am I not doing right? What could I have done better? Is it me? Am I taking on something new without fully considering the necessary time, research, and resources it takes to get a new business started? To no-one’s surprise, I’m sure, I realizeI have just typed out my low moment for today.

Following my grandchildren’s example, when I analyzed my role and God-given talents I discovered my high moment of the day.

Since my eyes on a finished work could be one of the last before a that work becomes published, I want to be certain I have been as thorough as humanly possible. Copy editors have several jobs. They must try to position themselves in the mind of the author, themselves as well as the eventual reader.

I try to allow time to read over all manuscripts twice, and often, three times. The first is to gain an overall conception of the author’s voice and the story. The second read is word by word, line by line; not just correcting glaring errors, but taking time to look up questions as I go along.  I may not always agree with the wording, but are the grammar, spelling, and punctuation correct? If so, while I may suggest positive changes, I do not attempt to kill the author’s voice. The copy editor should critique the structure of the book, offer alternatives, and suggest revisions. If I don’t understand a point, statement or paragraph, will the intended readers understand? As I go along, I am sure to jot down questions to clarify or address later.

By simply expressing what is on my mind, I enjoyed my high moment today. So, thanks for “listening.” What are your “high-low” moments of the day?


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2 thoughts on “High Low”

  1. Catherine Tucker

    I really like your concept of high low. I often look back over the previous week and sigh…I didn’t accomplish very much. I rarely take stock in what I did accomplish. I think I’ll take a minute to do that. Maybe I’ll find I had more highs than I thought. Thanks Mary!

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