The Literary Phoenix

Funny, the damage a silly little book can do. Especially in the hands of a silly little girl.

With Easter a day gone, I find myself thinking about all the egg hunts that I have had in my life, including in writing.  I was raised religiously, and my family practices the traditional Christian Easter, but even my religious father could not forbid the delight of an egg hunt.  We always used the store-bought plastic eggs, and filled them up with sweets.

An egg hunt, to me, represents the discovery of hidden treasure, and I have always felt a bit like a scavenger, searching for pirate’s gold.  These treasures are best when you find them accidentally, hidden away under a leaf or the back porch, in a place where you were expecting nothing at all.

When I was a child, I thought writers lived glamorous lives, like movie stars.  After all, they were famous, right?  Unfortunately for me, I was an incredibly realistic child (at least in the venue of career) and I figured that they were some sort of demi-god, and I could never be as smart or funny or creative as any of the authors I loved so much.  That’s when I found it.

I couldn’t believe it at first.

It was there in the regular print, clear as day, and I thought for sure that my eyes deceived me.  Just a small thing… the tiniest typo… but it was there nonetheless.  In that moment, I felt empowered.  I knew how to spell that word right… the author must have missed something! (This was back when I didn’t know about editors or agents or any of that super important stuff).  Suddenly, it felt achievable.  Writers weren’t some breed of god, born better than me.  They worked to get where they were, and like me, they made mistakes.

Since that day, I smile when I find a typo in a book.  It is always a reminder of that original feeling – you don’t have to be perfect to be a writer.  You just need to work hard, and believe in yourself.  Like an egg hunt, you may notice some of the little things too late – a plastic egg left out in the rain and torn apart by chipmunks, perhaps.  In the end, though, while you may feel silly for missing an obvious error… to somebody else, that little thing may be a treasure.

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