Oops, did I do it again?

Published 1:12 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2002

By By Lindsey Sherrill, Columnist
I have a confession to make. I, perfectionist in the extreme, obnoxiously exacting, and always on everybody else's case, have –gasp!– made a mistake.
A couple of weeks ago I used a quotation by a famous author. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember exactly who that author was. Well, it turns out that my faulty memory may be a good thing because apparently I misquoted. The quote should have said "Any man who can perceive beauty in an oyster is a poet. . . Sometimes the ugly ones are the most delicious." It is only a minor thing, but that's the kind of stuff that drives me nuts! (By the way, if any of you should happen to know who said that, please e-mail me and let me know. I still can't remember!)
You see, I have a really big problem with seeing mistakes, especially in print. I know a lot of that is due to my obnoxious, perfectionist side (I heard that snicker!), but I think it goes deeper than that. I feel as if having the chance to share my beliefs and opinions through print is a real privilege. For me, writing is just my most natural mode of expression, and I enjoy sharing through that with people. I view our First Amendment rights to free speech and free press as our greatest, as all other rights rest upon our abilities to communicate with one another.
But with this, as with all other rights, comes a great responsibility. We should treat the amazing privilege we have of being able to share freely, without fear, with respect, as its abuse could lead to its lose. I think this applies especially to members of the media as we reach so many people each time we use that right.
So what am I saying? Only this: I want my writing to be the best that it can possibly be not just because I'm the kind of person who likes to keep everything in order, but because I believe it is my responsibility to those of you who rely on the media for information that my writing be not only correct but well presented, well organized, and well written. I feel that I owe everyone who sacrificed their lives to give me the right to communicate openly that much. Maybe what I write isn't important, or great, or widely read, but I like to thing of it the way someone whose name I can remember said. Rather than getting on everyone else's case so much, I think I'll try to remember it this way. James Kelley wrote "It is better to light one little candle than to curse the darkness."
With that in mind, I apologize once again for the mistake. I hope you enjoy my little candle.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox