I hate painting.
I hate the way it disrupts life. Things that are normally in the living room are scattered throughout the house. The family room is currently resting in the kitchen. The office is in the bedroom. And all the walls are painted colors that startle me whenever I come in (It’s not beige but blonde, which doesn’t really look like the real color blonde, but that’s what it said on the painter’s card)
It is interesting to see parts of my house stripped to the barest bones. To hear my voice echo due to lack of carpeting. And to find things stuck in the oddest places (just how did Daniel’s underwear get there?!). But still, I’m not a home improvement type of person. I don’t like to mess with hammers or chisels. I hate having my house in such disarray. I hate having to do things slowly to bring it back to a semblance of normality. And there are so many things to do get it back to normal, I start to despair if there will ever be such a thing as normal again.
This whole renovation process, however, does remind me a lot about the writing process.
I take a whole different attitude when I start to ‘renovate’ a story. I like to write and rewrite, taking my time, seeing what works and what doesn’t. I start off with the barest bones of a story. It’s pretty ugly, lots of shift changes and misspellings and paragraphs that tend to ramble off in different directions. But I like it. I roll up my sleeves and get to work, molding sentences back into order, yanking out words, fixing on adjectives, coloring in scenes to perfection. It takes time, but when I’m finished, I got (in my mind) a perfect piece of work.
So maybe I should see the house that way. See it as a story in process. ‘Course, this is a story that has a deadline of sorts, which means that we gotta kick it up a notch. But I just need to keep the end product in mind. When all this is done, this house will look bee-yoo-ti-ful. I just gotta keep saying that.
Of course, rewriting a story doesn’t involve getting paint on the elbows…