Can’t See the Trees for the Forest

forestApparently, the proverbial “can’t see the forest for the trees” was noted in John Heywood’s glossary, dated back to 1546. It described someone who is so taken with details, he or she doesn’t see the whole picture.

I’ve come to a new awareness that I’m the opposite. I can’t see the trees for the forest. It’s an astonishing admission on my part. For all my years, I’ve considered myself to be detail-oriented. How could I have missed such a mind-boggling character flaw?

My mother fully admitted that she wasn’t observant. When dad pulled into the driveway after her one day, she was surprised to see him. He laughed, saying that he’d been driving behind her for at least 5 miles. At the time, I thought it was funny. Now I’m not laughing. I must have inherited her genes.

I’ve been known to say “the ink is never dry before I find a mistake.” That usually referred to a report or flyer that I’d just printed, requiring me to fix it and print it again. I hate wasting time and paper.

But now I’m an author, and pesky typos show up in every manuscript. How does that happen with editors and beta readers helping me find those hidden gems? I use spell check and grammar check, and re-read the entire book at least a zillion times. Still, a misplaced to or of creeps in.

Now that Murder in Aspen Notch is published, a friend called to say that she found three typos. “Are you kidding me?” I screeched. Unbelieving, I went back and read the entire book again. I didn’t find them. Not one.

She assured me that they were there. It wasn’t until she supplied the page numbers and phrases that I was able to locate them. Yep. I missed them. I’m my mother’s daughter.

On top of that, I also replaced the name of the puppy in my story with my own puppy’s name. Only once, thank goodness. That was a freudian slip, not a typo. Oops.

Rest assured, I’ve gone back and fixed the errors. In the future, I promise to focus on the trees, as well as the forest.


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