I’ve been editing the house again.
It’s a bit of a compulsion of mine—I like to change things around and by things I do not mean furniture. I mean walls. As far as my brain is concerned, everything in the house is changeable, from the windows to the floors to the walls and doors. Tear it all out, move it all around and put some of it back.
If I could actually do this to my house, there is no question that I would.
Now, my house is a mess. Not that it’s a bad house. We bought it because it has reasonably well-sized rooms and a nice, circular flow around the first floor. We have lots of big oak trees that make our yard shady and our house cool. It had a screened in porch that I loved (so much that I turned it into a year-round sunroom). However, the place has no curb appeal whatsoever. It’s a little Cape Cod with a strange bay window that hangs sort of precariously off the front of it. The siding is horrible stuff—after we looked at the house the first time Jim and I went back to our apartment in the city and actually had an argument over whether it was white or yellow. In truth it is neither, but somewhere in between and now that we’ve been living in it for a while we know that it really wants to be green. I suppose it’s trying to match the really unappealing green stuff growing on the roof. Also our ceilings are oddly low and given the lovely trees hanging overhead I’m told there isn’t much we can do about the spider situation.
Nevertheless, we love our house, warts and all. For the first several years our realtor kept stopping in, clearly sure we had seen the error of our ways. “There are lots of other houses,” she’d say.
But we’re good. We tinker, tinker, tinker, making large changes a little at a time and watching the ripple effects.
This summer I am about to embark on a novel (again). I have one fully written but it’s sort of like this house. Nice bones, but a big mess. It’s a huge undertaking to fix a mess of a novel, and there is nothing more looming than to approach it simply as it is, appreciating the good qualities and working diligently to improve the bad, with the intention to move the walls around and make it work. What pulls me away is the brand spanking new 10,000 words I have on two other novels. It seems far more enticing to just keep writing from scratch on either of those. But that first novel sort of feels like this house, homey and familiar but in need of much work.
Let’s see how I do.