There’s me, and there’s my writings. If you want to know what I think about something, you might want to start by consulting my writings, rather than asking me. I’ve been writing about this stuff for more than 20 years, and a lot of it is complicated, so I can only keep some of it in my mind at any given time. Some topics I recall having written about, but darned if I can remember what I wrote. And sometimes I write something, then check my blog and find that I wrote about exactly the same topic years ago.
I don’t think it’s a function of my being 61 years old. It’s a function of my work having become a sprawling mass.
That has implications for the manuscript of the fifth edition of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. I’m particularly eager to eliminate all internal inconsistency, where something I say on page 132 is inconsistent with something I say on page 437.
Here’s an example. In chapter 10 (References to Time) of the fourth edition, there’s a section on the phrase the date notified. Well, at some point I added to chapter 13 (Selected Usages) of the manuscript of MSCD5 a section on notify, about the American usage as compared to an English usage. A few days ago I realized that when I wrote the chapter 10 discussion, I wasn’t aware of the English usage, so I got the explanation wrong. I made the necessary adjustment, breathing a sigh of relief—I can’t take it for granted that I’d make the connection between a couple of lines on page 263 of the manuscript and a section on page 398.
Here’s another example. Prompted by this 2020 blog post, I added to MSCD5 a paragraph about how you shouldn’t have a sentence continue after the end of a set of enumerated clauses. That has implications for “dangling text,” which I discuss in 4.44 of the fourth edition. I say in 4.44 that one fix for dangling text is to integrate the enumerated clauses instead of tabulating them, but that’s inconsistent with what I just added to MSCD5; I’ve adjusted the 4.44 text accordingly. The MSCD5 addition also has implications for a chapter 3 topic, whether you put a conditional clause before the matrix clause, or vice versa. I made an adjustment there too.
Eternal vigilance is the price of avoiding internal inconsistency.