“Ah, well… it happens with every book.”
That’s what other authors and industry folks are saying, trying to help me get over the headache that began the moment I found a rather glaring error right in the middle of the first chapter of Through a Screen Darkly.
Why didn’t I remember that in 1987 when I was 17 years old, “Dances with Wolves” was still three years away from opening?
And yet, I wrote that I saw the film in 1987, at age 17.
In fact, here’s what happened: I went on a date with my friend Melissa in 1987 when I was 17. The movie was “Roxanne,” not “Dances with Wolves.”
Three years later, I took Melissa on another date, when I was 20, and we saw “Dances with Wolves.”
The story… and its point in Chapter One… are still all true.
But in writing the story, the two events merged in my head, and I put down the wrong date, and thus identified myself as being 17 when I saw the film.
Most readers would have skimmed right over it and never been the wiser. But I’m a perfectionist, so… there you go.
Elsewhere, where that chapter is being published online as an excerpt, the correction has been made. But the error will be there on the printed page to puzzle generations to come.
Two more things: My apologies to Kristin Wilhite, whose name appears as “Kristen” on one page, and to Alfonso Cuarón, whose name appears as “Alfonzo Cuaron.”
Given two or three more days, I would have made one more proofreading sweep and caught all of these things. In the second printing, all will be made right.
If there’s anything else you need to bring to my attention, please email me at joverstreet [at] gmail [dot] com.