In Proofingdom all rules of grammar and punctuation may be questioned.
Does one quote or italicize the titles of paintings? (The Chicago Manual of Style — let’s say CMS — says italicize.)
Oh, no, I have a lot of notes that are only partially complete. Did I really mean a book by Sherry Turkle published in 2009? I don’t think I read the book she published that year, but I did read one that came out in 2012. I must have meant that one, but how could I have been three whole years off? This is what I get for writing a book over so many years’ time. (Is there really an apostrophe after the word “years” in such a construction? Yes, says the CMS, there is!)
Let us all remember what it is like to walk across a gymnasium floor, conscious that all eyes are focused on the way our hands move back and forth, as if in slow motion, for this is how proofing makes us feel. Nothing will escape the possibility of scrutiny by some imagined other, watching from the bleachers.
But there is something intensifying of life in this strange self-conscious scrutiny, by contrast to that experience of the gym floor, which always just left me red-faced. I suppose it is because I must feel that I know the answers to all these questions, me and my chum CMS, that is.