Why do people count typos and pronouns? (You used “he” twice as much as “she”!) Why is it they feel compelled to tell you? And why do they tell you not in conjunction with commenting on your subject matter, but as a sole piece of feedback, as if the content had no meaning and no purpose? (One person told me he couldn’t focus on content if there was a typo. I told him I hoped he or she was receiving counseling.)
As you might expect, I’m going to attempt to explain why. It’s because such focus on the trivial is not about correctness, or detail, or even an analytic bent (let alone anal-retentiveness). It’s about an incapacity to be tolerant and to look at the larger picture. The search for perfection is a detour from the mission to create meaning. We’d rather find others’ flaws than find our own futures.
When people tell me they’ve found seven typos in one of my books, I tell them there are actually 12. (That drives them berserk.) Don’t misunderstand, I’m not seeking forgiveness for my own errors, only tolerance. I’m not asking that people give me permission to transgress, only that they forgive the transgressions.
Of course, tolerance and forgiveness are the basis of Christianity, and I do not want to mention religion here! It’s not my place to speak for God. (But I do think that tolerance and forgiveness is what she intends for us!)
Any man who still has ten grand left when he dies is a failure.
— Actor Errol Flynn
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