A Writer on the Prowl

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?

I am a ruthless Amazon: five foot eight without my favorite three-inch heels. Silently I stalk my prey, the tip of my tongue poking out of my mouth in the age-old sign of concentration. I know it’s close. Years of practice have taught me to sense when it’s coming, even if it’s not immediately visible. Patience. It will show itself.


I pounce.

“What does ‘this’ over here refer to? You want ‘affect’ here, not ‘effect,’ and while we’re on this sentence, I don’t think you’re saying what you want to say. And over there, you’re saying what you’ve already said twice. That modifier is dangling, this is a fragment, and that’s a run-on. And what in the world is ‘hte’?”

In a matter of minutes, a pristine black-and-white page is covered with scrawls of blue ink, barely legible in some places, painfully clear in others. Arrows lead half-way up the page and back down again, words are crossed out and others scribbled above them, and over still others hover seemingly malicious question marks.

I may be merciless, but I am not cruel. I accept no offer to edit an essay without the explicit understanding between the author and myself that the essay will not return in the same condition it was given. And yet, people still come to me, offering...

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