So what do I do all night, or morning, whichever? Ordinarily I stare fruitlessly at my novel, or largely fruitlessly with sporadic episodes of fruit, but since yesterday I have not been able to do even that, because yesterday afternoon, which was morning for me, my beloved Mac decided not to turn on. At all. The guy at the help desk said that it was probably a problem with the power cord, and arranged to have a new one sent to me at no charge. But until that happens I have no Mac, which means no short stories and no novel. It's as if the heavens opened and an angelic host spake unto me, saying, "Now's the time to go read Permanent Midnight like you said you were going to do before starting Chapter Eight, dickweed."
But angels don't have to pay rent, so until I get the new power cord I've actually been working at night, editing this Western that begins the day Andrew Jackson was inaugurated. This is the kind of book that reminds me of why I love my job. The main character is fictional, but many of the supporting characters are historical figures -- Jackson, John and Peggy Eaton, John C. Calhoun, Tench Ringgold, and so on. This makes my job trickier, because it opens up a vast new dimension of ways in which the author can be wrong. But that's the good part, because the more chances the author has to be wrong the more chances I have to be right, and that means that I win. As a copy editor, I am basically a professional showoff.
Yesterday the copy of Unreal Tournament I ordered arrived in the mail. In case you're unfamiliar with it, this is a first-person shooter for the PlayStation that encourages you to run around with rocket launchers, flak cannons, sniper rifles, things that shoot spinny razor blades, etc. and kill everyone you encounter. There are narrow ledges above harrowing drops and there's radioactive waste and there's molten lava, and if you're not careful you can blow yourself up by accident. Also there's gore and bouncy chunks of slain opponents that carom theatrically off the walls. If you kill enough people in a row without being killed yourself, a deep commanding voice intones the thrilling words "killing spree."
I love this game. It's like editing: I destroy wherever I see an opportunity for destruction, and if I am quick enough and clever enough, and if my aim is true enough, I win. Editing is better, because editors have to fix as well as break, but the savagery is the same and the thrill of the savagery is the same. I am a nice person, but there is no substitute for that thrill.
Total word count: 61,327