And now, it looks as if I'll have an opportunity to do the kind of work I've dreamed of: copyediting for an established nature magazine. (I'm only not saying which one out of tact and discretion -- I'm not sure it's my business to reveal the other side of such a new work relationship -- and out of superstition, not to jinx it.)
Why have I dreamed of such work? It's ideal because it's well within my skills and abilities, not as grueling as heavy-duty rewriting can be, AND on top of that the subject matter is deliciously fascinating to me. I narrowly missed being a naturalist, biologist, or nature writer myself. I was willing to proofread transcripts of corporate earnings calls, or to copyedit economics journals or health-care industry press releases -- a few of the gigs I applied for -- even though the subject matter would have made my eyes roll up in my head. I am eager to copyedit scholarly yet engaging articles on ecology and paleontology, to learn while doing, as it were. I can't believe I'm studying a stylesheet that takes up such matters as when to use FISH versus FISHES and the stratigraphic names for rock systems. I feel like Wart, the boy King Arthur, when he first wandered into Merlyn's workshop in The Sword in the Stone.
This came about fortuitously. I sent in my college class dues. It's our 40th (shudder) reunion next year. The class secretary is someone I've known since freshman year and saw intermittently over the years in New York. I mentioned that I was going to be freelance editing and copyediting. Her husband is the editor-in-chief of the magazine, which recently lost its fiftysomething in-house copyeditor to a Ph.D. program and is now using freelancers.
If it works out well, that plus the occasional book will give me more than enough to do and to live on, and not least of all, a productive connection to the world again.