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What’s This “It”?

May 1, 2012

Well, today I came across a mistake in the finished book, which I’ll now explain with a heavy and mortified heart. It’s near the top of page 91, in the middle of long sentence that starts on page 90. In manuscript I had written, “… she’d gone to the driving range every afternoon because, though she hated the game, she loved those rare times when the ball flew off the tee without sending any vibrations through her arms, when the ball seemed to shoot out of her.” It was reasonably argued that the repetition of “the ball” was unnecessary and that “it” should be called into service. That seemed cool to me, but in the process both uses of “the ball” were changed to “it,” so that it (the sentence) reads, “… she loved those rare times when it flew off the tee …,” which “it” seems to refer to golf or to some nebulous other thing. I had numerous opportunities to catch this, but didn’t. My wife says I shouldn’t let it (the mistake) bring me down, and feels even more strongly that I shouldn’t campaign to remove all books from shelves in response to this discovery. I’m not a psychologist, but it’s possible that I’m channeling greater anxieties into this trifling issue. Readers, at any rate, are encouraged to make the correction in black or blue ink.