Well, this is the season, isn’t it?
I’ve been busy this weekend in my garden and backyard. I spent one evening mowing it – twice. It has been raining like Noah for the last few weeks and the grass was knee deep and rising and I cut that green stuff to a depth befitting a custom-built pool table.
And I weeded.
Primarily I concentrated on weeding the rose hedge.
Which has a story, naturally. I planted the rose hedge last year – digging a bed that ran the length and width of our long and skinny city lot. We are situated on the corner of three streets, directly beside two shopping mall parking lots – so our yard is a natural intersection for all manner of windblown litter. I usually end up out there bending and stooping with a pair of barbecue tongs, picking up the litter at least once a week. So the hedge was partly planted with the idea that it would trap the windblown litter and lessen my need for bending and stooping.
My back likes that idea.
As I weeded I also fertilized and dumped some splendid smelling cedar mulch on the rose bed as I went along. This pretties up the whole rose bed and also makes it less inviting for weeds and such.
As I got to the last ten feet of the rose bed – which is probably about 70 or 80 feet long in total – I noticed that the bed was getting narrower and less neat. So I dug and rooted about, cleaning up that last ten feet.
As I was doing so I thought about how much like a manuscript this rose bed was. You see, when I work on a manuscript – I usually find that I put the most effort into the beginning and first half of the work – and give short shrift to the ending because by that point I am about ready to get the heck out of Dodge and get to work on something new.
Like maybe a beer.
I often find the worst editorial criticisms – such as “you’ve made an error in tense” or “bad grammar” or “continuity issue” or “what in the hell were you thinking?” – occur in those last few chapters of the work. Just like this rose bed the whole work suffers from a lack of attention and genuine stick-to-itiveness.
So from here on out I swear that when I get to the end of a novel manuscript and I want to hurry up and be done with it and get it off to my publisher who no doubt is up all night long pacing and worrying and wondering just when his next dose of my undeniable brilliance is going to cross his desk – that I will stop and take a look out of my office window which faces that last ten feet of rose bed and I am going to be a little bit more careful about what I write.
I have just written an entire blog entry advising you writers to slow down and smell the roses.
Time for black coffee.
yours in storytelling,