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My favorite editorial notation so far

I’m trying to get the History of the Medieval World into final shape by the end of February; my editor at Norton has been sending MS back to me in chunks with his notes, and I’m going through, page by page, making changes and corrections, drawing maps where they’re still needed, and making up a timeline for each chapter.

So in Chapter 21, I wrote of the monk Benedict that, in Monte Cassino, he “developed the rules by which his community would live: the Rule of St. Benedict. The Rule was the lex of a kingdom removed from the political struggles, a conscious attempt to lassoo Christian practice and haul it back to the realm where the Indian and Chinese monks dwelt.” My editor changed that to “A conscious attempt to bring Christian practice back to the realm.”

The accompanying note: “No, let’s not lassoo anything.”

I keep forgetting he’s from Connecticut.

ADDENDUM: Just reached the chapter on the Arab kingdom of Himyar, in which I wrote a really awful sentence.

My sentence: “It wasn’t the only massacre of his reign, but it became the domino that knocked his carefully built plans for preserving his kingdom down into a disastrous heap.”

Editorial remark: “Sentence is a disastrous heap. Please untangle.”

I just did. Well…a Gordian-knot type of untangling. I axed it.