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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Little Errors on the Prairie

In FlightI'm working on a quirky little project at the moment.  Not a major work. . .just a small little niche book that's been sitting in the back of my brain for, oh, about 30 years.

Not sure why the topic draws me, either. . .or why my brain works the way it does.  Maybe the editor in me blossomed all those decades ago as I read, and re-read, and re-read the Little House series endlessly.  After all, when you get so familiar with a work that you can quote, verbatim, just about the whole series, I guess it's natural that you begin to notice tiny flaws here and there.
But let me be clear. . .I'm not out to discredit or shame the books.  Not on your hecky-darn!  On the contrary, I actually think the minors flaws and errors make the series far more real and important and endearing than had there been no inconsistencies in the first place.

Why?  Because it's the work of a human, rather than a formula for a "good story" or the sterile spew of a computerized "how to write the perfect novel" program.

These books were written by a human, edited by more humans, and are a beautiful reflection of how imperfections actually make things somehow more perfect.

At least to my way of thinking.

The stories and people and places aren't lost or dulled by Laura's occasional historical or editorial misstep.  Not at all.  Pa's gift for music, Ma's gentle guidance, and the cadence of the wide prairie resonate through it all.

And that fascinates me. 

Instead of being annoyed whenever I come across a head-scratcher or out and out error, I smile.  People are like that. . .we misspeak or struggle to recall an exact date or circumstance. And it's okay.  We're human.

So, as I explore the series again today. . .teasing out all those bits I've spotted before that some might call errors, I feel like I'm putting on a favorite worn old sweater. . .a small stain here, a minor snag there, but more comfortable (and beautiful) than anything else I have to offer.

And, boy!  Does it feel good!

(picture courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)

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