Peg Legs and Embracing Imperfections

My suitcase has a peg leg and it reminds me that imperfections are beautiful.

It’s the biggest suitcase I own, and it doesn’t get much use since most of the trips I take are quick weekend getaways. But when I pulled it out of the closet for a big trip last month, I was pleased to see that its wooden leg was still intact.

Books are heavy

What happened is that I have long had a problem with owning too many books. I buy them faster than I can read, hold onto them long after I’ve finished them, and like to use them as temporary and portable furniture (end tables, laptop platforms, shelves for other books).

I also don’t have a great special awareness of things like size and weight.

So when it was time for me to leave college, I took my big suitcase and loaded it full of books. I figured since it had wheels, the only real challenge would be lifting it into the trunk. One trip over the curb and one of the suitcase’s sturdy plastic feet broke clean off.

I was completely stunned! Not to mention embarrassed about my packing skills and mad about my new suitcase being broken.

But my dad got a block of wood, shaped it to match the other foot, painted it black, and screwed it into the base of the suitcase. It stabilized the suitcase and blended right in.

bottom of large red suitcase with one plastic foot and one wooden foot
That’s a suitcase with a peg leg.

And that’s not all

Ten years later, it’s still holding up just fine. And more than that, it makes me smile every time I see it—especially when I spot it at the baggage claim and know immediately that that red suitcase, out of all the others that look just like it, is mine.

It’s so easy to see memes with messages like “imperfections make things/life/you beautiful” or “no one is perfect but everyone is enough” and feel the sentiment go in one ear and out the other. Of course, no one is perfect. But then we keep trying to be perfect.

It’s not just that the wooden leg on my suitcase makes it useable. It makes me love it.

And when I realize that, I start to notice other imperfections that I don’t just tolerate but actively appreciate.

That I own more books than I can realistically read.

That I usually need about 15 minutes of spinning absentmindedly in my chair before I can get down to writing.

The weird crimp in my bangs that shows up whether I straighten, curl, or shave my hair.

It’s all good!

The One with My First Business Trip

I’m taking my very first business trip this week. I’ve never had a job that required any kind of travel, and I’m very excited that I get to create this opportunity for myself.

I know, I know: if you have to travel for work regularly, it can be a major pain in the ass. The time, the hassle, the sheer volume of germs encountered on so much public transportation.

ACES, here I come

But in spite of all that, I’m absolutely thrilled to be taking myself to the ACES: The Society for Editing annual national conference in fabulous Providence, Rhode Island. ACES is an international organization of editing professionals across industries and in a variety of media, and I’ve been a member since founding my business.

This trip is exciting because it’s a big first for Mallory Herrmann Editorial Services LLC, but also because it’s chock-full of opportunities to learn, network, and check out the local doughnut scene.

I’ll be attending sessions on writing about distressing content, how words get made, using style guides—and, yes, comma usage. I expect there to be much nerdery! There will also be opportunities to learn about process and workflow, social media, diversity and inclusion, and succeeding as an editor.

Ready to learn

I’ve got a brand-new notebook and a stock of pens for all the notetaking I expect to be doing over the three-day conference. I can’t wait to soak up as much as I can in order to both add value to the work I provide for my clients and to create improvements in my business as a whole.

Because being an editor isn’t just about knowing the rules and then following them; it’s an evolution. I’m always learning new rules, new exceptions, new best practices—and that’s a very good thing.

I can’t wait to share some of my takeaways from the conference here and on social media. Follow me over on Facebook and Instagram for live updates from Li’l Rhody this week!