It was at least conveniently timed that I be living in the house of an old hand at the writing game when my copyedited manuscript arrived via Fed-Ex, because if I had recieved this beast on my own, I would have stood staring at it in profound bafflement for hours on end, and eventually keeled over in my tracks.
The copyedited manuscript is a sea of colored pencil marks and post-it notes on the margins. These are proofreader marks. There is no key to them, you are expected to know that, for example, if you want a change not to be made, you will make three small dots under the mark, and write "STET" over the top, which means "Let it stand." (It may not stand. However, at least this registers that you WANT it to stand.)
How anyone on earth is supposed to know this is a great bafflement to me. Of equal bafflement was the half-dozen pages of someone else's manuscript shoved in the middle of mine--do all those prospective writers who obsess over the meaning of every word from an editor's desk realize how disorganized these people are? (Seriously. If any of you do that, save yourselves. Abandon hopes of editormancy now. Stop trying to read rejection letters like the entrails of the black goat. These people are organized like the rest of us humans--badly, frantically, and doin' the best they can.)
So anyway, Deb walked me through it, and thank god. I've got about half my manuscript gone over, which isn't bad, and gave me something productive to do today.
Tomorrow--doctor! Drugs! And hopefully soon sanity! Apartment! Life-as-I-know-it!