John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to email@example.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Drunk and Tight: A Sot's Guide to the Elements of Style
As I read a book about White and The Elements of Style — of which much more anon — my mind turns to the principles of drink as they relate to the principles of writing and editing.
Rule 1: If you write when tight, you must edit when sober.
Rule 2: It is always five o’clock in the afternoon somewhere.
Rule 3: Do not approach the keyboard after the third bourbon.
Rule 4: Throw away that notebook at the bedside. Nothing written there will make any sense in the morning.
Rule 5: Wine with spouse, beer with fellow writers, sherry with clergy, gin with editors, whisky with publishers. Bourbon solus.
Rule 6: The publisher always pays for the drinks.
Rule 7: Omit needless ice.