That’s the question that keeps running through my head, since the first draft of Emily Rose is now finished, printed, and in its fancy new Staples-brand “Better Binder” (in “Midnight Indigo,” since the “Scarlet Lake” colour was a bit showy). I have the fancy purple, liquid ink, rollerball pen at the ready next to it, primed for making corrections, deletions, alterations, and doodles. I have the sketchbook open and ready to make notations so that the maps come out approximately correct when I draw them.
And I can’t bring myself to touch it.
Admittedly, I just fully birthed this literary child about 36 hours ago. Maybe I’m being a bit squeamish about demanding that it improve itself and become a grown-up book so early in its life. It also explains why the thought of cutting out bits of it is so upsetting to me (although we cut off a baby’s umbilical cord early on, and if it’s a boy… Blech, this analogy just got really horrible).
Of course, the alternative is to naively claim that it is a perfect piece as it is, try to justify the crappy bits of it as “artistic expressions,” and then spend the next 10 years arguing with people that the continuity errors are intentional. I know that it is an important part of the growth of a book to cut it to pieces and rebuild as a better work (Damn, I really wish I hadn’t compared it to a baby before. Now I keep picturing a stitched-together Frankenbaby toddling around the room.) but it just hurts to do it. It hurts to even think about it.
Of course, since I still don’t have a job, it leaves me with little else to do with my time. In an attempt to avoid starting the process, I’ve already done the following:
- Vacuumed (I hate the way that word looks. It’s an affront to decent spelling rules.)
- Cleaned out the pantry, organizing the dry goods by cooking time and texture
- Disassembled my home office, moving all the furniture around and reassembling it in a way that lets me fit more toy dinosaurs and model planes on the desk
- Attempted to replace a headlight in my wife’s Elantra, allowing me to (for the first time) use the socket wrench set my Dad gave me five years ago, and making me feel like a real man’s man as I bent over the open hood of the car, making that little clickety noise (I accidentally unbolted the battery, necessitating a $300 tow and repair at the Hyundai dealership)
- Baked three packages of brownies at once in a tray the size of the fridge door (they were eaten within the hour)
- Cleaned out the fridge, discovering that there was a jar of jam from 2006 that had reproduced with a packet of yeast to produce little mutant strawberries that ate all the honey and farted CO2
Needless to say, I am now out of distracting projects. I guess I had better get back to it.