Here it is, January already, and the calendar has ticked over, reminding me to create a new folder and start dropping my weekly Madison rewrites into a sector that has a new year. Shall we call it draft three?
This is what I like about my rewrites:
-- Ctrl X all those dumb bits that make me cringe.
-- Ctrl V all those wait-a-minute bits from earlier drafts that made a lot more sense than I remembered.
This is what I dislike:
-- My life, novel writing for the ages.
-- Will it never end, dear god?
-- I've lost track.
-- I'm slashing plot points now.
-- Yoo hoo! Mr. Scrap Man! Want a novel?
From 310 pages, I'm down to 283. As diets go, I'm not going to impress anyone with an 8% loss. But there is a lot of clutter gone, all the junk I threw in the sink and hid in the closets. I thought I might need those old thrift store golf clubs and a third coffee grinder with a cracked lid. Turns out it was just there to make me cringe.
You know how with short stories, you write everything like a crow gathering shiny bits. Then you reread it and pick your battle. It's a short story, dude, not opera. Once the excess is gone, you might (sometimes in a blue moon, doesn't happen often) see that the 100 words left behind really do represent everything you meant to say back when you were using 1000 words to say it.
On a bloated, ocean liner scale, novel rewrites might function the same way. I've just never spent so long rewriting a novel before. Heavenly days, it's been a long time.
In the furthermore department, it isn't raining. At the moment. I'm off my bike for…I'm not sure how long. Until I miss it again. I love the bike. Her name is Argenta, she's two years old. I bought her with the proceeds of an ill-advised art sale, a very nice abstract painting from 1958, one of Lee's I rescued from the dustbin of history. I shouldn't have parted with it. But the bike has been nice.
Except I'm a bored with biking. It has all the stress of driving and none of the mindlessness of walking. Fall down, you break something, get hit, you die. Also, I never have any sense of improving on the hills. Someone passed me on the Linn Avenue hill once going oh, eight miles an hour, and she said, "It never gets any easier, you just go faster." Now that's a real philosophical statement, one that gives a girl pause. It NEVER gets any easier? Who cares about going faster? That's what downhill is for.
So I'm walking again.