Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Laughing at Errors

(from Moon Yun)

When I go to the small Korean restaurants or dim sum places, I get a chuckle from reading their menus sometimes. They almost get it but not quite right since English is not their first language. I wanted to offer my services and help them correct their menu but would that be impolite and patronizing? What do you think of "Headlines with Jay Leno" where he makes fun of such cases? Fear of being laughed at...is that where people turn away from becoming writers?

1 comment:

Pat said...

I think it would be great if you offered your services. Let us know what kinds of responses you get…

I haven't heard Jay Leno, but I can imagine what he says. It's certainly healthy to laugh at mistakes—our own and other people's. I think the danger lies in allowing such errors to stand for the entire person. For example, if I make an error when I'm speaking in class and someone decides not to listen to me anymore because of that error, I and the student have both lost something important.

Fear of failing is not, allow me to generalize, a characteristic of writers or copyeditors. In order to succeed, you must make ten thousand mistakes, study them, and learn from them.