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I have used a lot of tools in my life. Growing up, I worked alongside my dad at our old, cabin-court motel, which seemed to require constant maintenance. I used screwdrivers and hammers, scrapers and paintbrushes, drills and saws. When I left for college my dad gave me an assortment of his tools to take with me, and they still come in handy when I have to hang a picture or do a household repair. My husband and I have an agreement with our landlords: We won't bother them with apartment issues, and they won't raise the rent. In New York City, that's not a bad deal.

These days I only need a few tools to do my work. Obviously, my computer is where I spend most of my workday, editing and writing and replying to emails. But every once in a while it's nice to step away from the screen and do something more tangible. That's why I love proofreading projects. I get to sit down with a stack of manuscript pages and a red pencil and do what I do best.

There's something about seeing that bright red color on the page, about the rubbery smell of the eraser, about holding a nascent book in your hands before the rest of the world knows it exists.

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