Can proofing be creative? If the corrections make a cleaner manuscript, a more transparent manuscript, that's a very good thing for writer and reader–but that's what we expect from proofing. If the proofreading leads to a fortunate change, a better word choice, spacing that creates a more vivid idiom or more interesting rhythmical play–then yes, yes, the proofing can be a creative act.
So why not approach the task with the same state of clairvoyant expectation that we bring to the writing process? Why not assume that not only clarification will take place, errors will be addressed and become invisible–but also, a new insight may take place at the last minute, rescuing the text from the merely good, taking it to the extraordinary?
It could happen. And the graphic designer who is charged with making the textual changes might become a binge drinker. But that's another story, the story of an angel behind the scenes, an at-risk angel...
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.