Thursday, August 28, 2008

Manuscript or Pickax? --Christy

This is the first week since the beginning of June that I’ve had full days at home alone; the first time in three months that I can actually write. So what do I do? I grab the pickax, of course.

A couple of years ago we bought a big, beautiful fir to be our outdoor Christmas tree. Because we purchased it in winter when the ground was too hard to dig, we left it in the planter it came in. Fast forward two years: the poor tree was still in the planter, strangling itself with its own roots. I kept meaning to get to it but it was off in an odd corner of the yard that I rarely visited and wouldn’t remember until late at night when you start worrying about the weirdest stuff, like having the death of a fir tree on your conscience.

My manuscript that sold is with the editor for comments, the one I finished in June is with my agent, and now I have to face page one of a new manuscript. So Monday I avoided it by cleaning the house for seven hours, Tuesday I avoided it by creating a website to manage six years of digital photos, and yesterday I avoided it by planting the tree.

First I grabbed the shovel but the going was slow—this baby needed a huge hole. That’s when I reached for the pickax. I’ve always been impressed with how lethal it looked and I must say, swinging that thing was immensely satisfying; sometimes you just need to exercise your inner gravedigger and just go at the earth with a pickax. Once I’d dug a whole big enough to bury one of the Seven Dwarfs, I wrestled the 200 pound mass of needles onto a dolly and wheeled it to its new home. It looks happy.

So I successfully avoided another day of opening a new document, titling it, and typing the first words. But today is wide open—like the calluses on my palms. Today I’ll do it.

Uh, right after I organize my desk.

Does anyone else find crazy ways to avoid the fear of staring a new manuscript?


Anonymous said...

After having a 1 1/2 hour lunch with you, I saw "The Tree"! It looks so happy in its new home. I sure hope it survives. Nice job with the landscaping around it also. Maybe the feng shui will give it some positive energy.
Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

I have spent entire days and weeks avoiding the first page, but I've never had a pickax to distract me with. It sounds immensely gratifying and very organic. I'm impressed.