Friday, May 8, 2015

How (my) Home Renovations Are Like Book Revisions.

As I bent over for the hundredth time to reorganize, either the kitchen or the living room this week, I began to realize that the constant going over was quite like revisions.

Dead tired, I thought, what am I learning from this? It was grueling, our landlord’s handyman, sloppy. I had to continually clean up after his and my husband’s mess. I came home to a surprise, each day, unwarned, the kitchen wrapped in plastic with millions of white water-based paints splattered across the wood floors. I cleaned up the kitchen, and the next day, it happened again – for the second coat. And I cleaned that.

This had gone on for over a month, with one handyman making his way through our apartment, after a sub-zero winter left us with a steam pipe break and nearly collapsed wall. 

I asked myself, what am I learning from this? This cannot be a wasted effort. Granted, I’d eventually get a wall and a painted apartment and several neglected repairs. (In years past, I did the wall painting) But the slow and messy progress was like a cruel joke. 

My husband works nights, and he wrestled with the handyman during the day while I watched the cafĂ© – and wrote. Thank the heavens! However, I’d pay for that when I got home.

With revisions, you feel like you’re doing the same thing, over and over, most of the time. You fix a page, maybe a beta reader reads it, and you utilize their notes, or you revise because revisions are an ongoing process and you have faith that the work will get done and turn out right by the end. And eventually you push through – warrior style. 

Which reminds me of a great Cheryl Strayed interview clip you can hear on Soundcloud, about writing like a warrior. Coincidentally, I heard the interview for the first time, during this exhausting time. Just what I needed to hear.  

Maybe this is all I learned.
Just to push through. Keep going. And hold that polished kitchen/MS in your mind’s eye until the work is done.

Then stand back, and remember: you earned this.  The reward is getting the work finished. In my case, it's uncertain when the rubble of creation will form. But for now I'll take a respite, and just in time for Mother's Day.