Last weekend my darling husband and I began the arduous process of cleaning our deck and veranda. There went our Saturday. Sunday we stained the deck with a natural coating of protective gunk. Thursday I spent four hours finishing up the inside of the veranda and adding a second coat to the outer part of the deck.
I thought I was finished. But no. Darling husband had to cut four boards and needed my help with stabilizing them. Fun. Not. Then I had to hold them in place while he screwed them into place. Then I was free. Well, not really. Then I had to catch up on my writing, my grocery shopping and general life happenings. So much for Saturday.
Today I am officially finished staining the deck with my husband. Note to self: never ever ever buy a house with a wood deck or veranda ever ever again.
I am not Suzie Handygirl. I don’t like doing these tasks. However, as it is with all the tasks I undertake, I did learn a few valuable things and can apply them to my writing.
1. Working together forges bonds. I can put my hero/heroine together while they work on a project. In the case of my fictional characters, they will probably end up having accidental touches that send shivers and trembles up and down their spines. Then they’ll probably splatter a little paint on each other and he’ll look at her and say you missed a spot after she wipes her face. And then, well… you figure it out.
In reality, Darling Husband and I cursed the dang deck, the time spent doing it, and the fact that we’d rather be sipping drinks on top of the Washington Hotel overlooking the White House than spend a sunny day cleaning wood. The best part about the whole thing was telling Darling Husband that his brilliant plan to spray the stain through a crappy little sprayer wasn’t going to work and having him decide he couldn’t possibly be wrong. Of course, he was. We have the splatters on the deck to prove it.
2. Sometimes you have to remove old stuff to make room for new, better stuff. In the case of writing fiction, this means I have to cut old words, words that are destroying the shape of my story and replace them with better words that support my story. Now the new words may not be perfect, but they are better and with each new cut I have the opportunity to improve my writing.
In reality, we bought four new boards for the deck. Two of the boards weren’t perfect. We had to use them anyway because we weren’t going to go out and buy two more boards. We are cheap. So we cut what we could, were grateful we could hide what wasn’t perfect, and slapped the dang things into place. Heck, anything we did was an improvement over what the builder had put in. At least these boards would warp in the proper direction.
Hmmm…. I think that could work for my writing. I can replace really bad crap with a higher quality crap and it is still an improvement.
3. Working alone is a dangerous idea. In the case of my fiction, my hero or heroine could get injured while on the project. The hero/heroine will arrive to save the day just in the nick of time. Then the hero/heroine will lovingly tend to the other’s wounds and then another tender, tingly moment will happen and voila! I have another love scene. Woohoo.
In reality, I just stepped into the paint tray, splattered the dang sh*& everywhere, got it on my butt, on my shoes, cursed in three languages, might have cursed my Darling Husband for not being there (ask the neighbors–I’m sure they heard me across the state line), and did all this while quickly slapping the pool of paint onto my brush and putting it on the door dealybob before it dried into a nasty blob. Again. I am cheap. I don’t waste stuff. When Darling Husband got home, I was in the shower cause I smelled like two day old sweat and mold and there is no way anyone was coming within ten feet of me. I had to get that stain off my butt.
4. In the end, if you don’t look too closely, the final product looks really nice and everyone is happy. Okay, in the case of my fiction, the hero and heroine get married, have a party, celebrate the new life they are beginning after working hard to be together despite all the obstacles. They ride off into the sunset or fly to some nice tropical island for a honeymoon.
In reality I just drink copious amounts of wine and declare that I am not doing this again until 2012. I will not be moved from this position of thought. There’s no tropical island in my future, but I might have a Seabreeze or three to celebrate the end of an arduous project.
Darling Husband wisely sits beside me and agrees.