Radical Rewrite, Day 3

My mother was one of the most capable people I knew. Maybe this was because she was my mother. But I watched her just wade in there and deal with whatever situation she had to deal with, while I would whine and complain and think things through. Let’s just say “In the amount of time you spent arguing about this, you could be done by now” was a frequent refrain of my childhood.

But one thing people didn’t know about her was that she had a secret melodramatic streak. I’d come home from school.

“I had the most awful time today.” Her tone of voice indicated that she might have accidentally started a fire that burned down her workplace. But she had that glint in her eyes.

“What happened, Mom?” I’d ask absently as I rummaged in the fridge for food.

“I had to do a mail merge,” and she’d launch into a tale about WordPerfect (it was back in the WordPerfect days; my mother found it…imperfect) and how it had done her wrong.

I spend my day obsessing over commas and other things that the average human being never notices; and, unlike say viruses, they will never really suffer from what they don’t notice. “We’re producing books, not saving lives,” as one of my former colleagues at [publisher redacted] used to say. But the melodrama keeps me amused.

(One of my mother’s favorite stories about my third sister is the time my sister went on a roller coaster when she was twelve, and would yell “I’m too young to die!” when she got to the top. Nature or nurture? )

So when I say “radical rewrite,” I’m probably not writing a whole new book. I’m using some melodrama to make myself feel better about revising. But it’s also a way to remind myself that I have to make some fundamental changes to the way I write about what I see. And I like alliteration.

Day 3, I formulated some questions and some statements that I think might be true. I have topics I have already written about, but I will recast the way I tell them. In theory at least. Now back to my paying work.

What are you doing today?

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8 responses to “Radical Rewrite, Day 3

  1. You’ve got the roller coaster story wrong. I was there.

    I wasn’t the sister who was too young to die (although I was too), I was the one who kept her from dying! It wasn’t a roller coaster, it was something like a Ferris wheel with little baskets made for people much thicker than your two skinny sisters. There weren’t any seat belts, and [name redacted] would start slipping out every time the basket moved. I had my also very skinny (read “weak”) arm across her to keep her from falling out. It was harrowing. We were about ten and thirteen at the time.

    Sorry. did you ask what we are doing today? I am doing “leadership training.” One of the questionable bonuses of life in the cubicle.

  2. Today, I’m piling up rejections in my email box. Which means I’m having pizza for lunch and friend chicken for dinner and cocktails!!

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