Friday, September 12, 2014

Clean Slate

I'm blogging late today because it took all day to clean my house. Four loads of laundry, an heirloom piano that hadn't been dusted for an embarrassing duration, and carpets that needed some serious love.

Cleaning my house was like revising my novels. I didn't think it could be done, but I knew it HAD to be done. I started with one corner of the house: decluttered the papers, toys, and half-eaten apples (I have four boys). Then I moved on to the next task: thoroughly dusting the scrolly nooks and crannies of my hundred-year-old piano. It's so old the cherry wood has gone black everywhere except the untouched inside. I had to dust quietly, which is no fun with a piano, because my babiest one was sleeping down the hall. If you've ever picked up a dusty old manuscript and tried to revise to your modern tastes, you have an inkling how I felt tackling this job.

The kitchen is the kitchen. It gets cleaned more often than anything else, even the bathroom, so that was easy... sort of like dropping my guilty pleasure adverbs from the first five chapters of my book.

Then there's the carpet. It's my least favorite to clean because it bears the brunt of everything, all the daily traffic of six people (maybe minus the baby who isn't crawling yet), and it weaves throughout the house. It's foundational. It's essential. And it was filthy. We live in the red dust of southern Utah right next to a city called Hurricane for its gale-force winds. My carpet is white. We just bought a Kirby in hopes of domesticating this over-sized rug. Imagine you reread your manuscript and realized it didn't just need the omission of a few badly placed adverbs or flowery adjectives. Imagine you looked at the whole house that you'd spent so many countless hours designing and organizing, and realized with horror that the very fabric that held up all your furniture needed a deep clean. I've got a couple manuscripts like that, which I probably won't be tackling any time soon. "Back to the drawing board," are five words I hate to hear myself mutter.

But if you're brave, maybe you'll tackle that white carpet turned mud-red rug (say that five times fast), and your book will end up as incredible as my house looks right now as I sit typing. Yay! It's a peaceful feeling when you've done the work and made something--book, house, yard, garden--just shine.

Don't look at this picture too closely. We're going for Most Improved.

Happy writing this weekend! And if you must, happy revising!


  1. Oh, carpet! Mine has been bearing the brunt of our toddler quite horribly. Love the cleaning/writing comparisons. =)

  2. An interesting metaphor you have here.


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