The Rhythms of Revision

You'll find me at Kimberly Willis Holt's blog today, as this week's Author at Home interview -- I hope you'll check it out. I'll post the link once it's up. In the meantime, you can read "This Week's Visitor" at Kimberly's site, where she introduces me and talks about how we are connected. Thanks so much, Kimberly, for the invite, and right back atcha for how grateful I am for our friendship.

I'm finding a rhythm to this revision. There will be days I sit in the chair for long hours and revise, rewrite. And there will be days -- like the past two, where I work in the wee hours, as the sun comes up, and then go out and work in the yard for the rest of the day, letting my subconscious work on the story while I do something physical.

I took this photo this morning, as the sun came up. I have all my doors and windows open now -- these past few days have been perfect spring weather, with a big breeze and cool temperatures, and lots of sun... perfect outdoor working weather, and I have a yard that has been neglected in the five years I've lived here and have been on the road.

So this week is also about taking back the yard -- taking it back from the encroaching woods! My friend Stoney Vance has been offering to help me in the yard for three years, and finally I am home for a long-enough stretch to tell him to come on down.

So we're working together, with Jim. Six hands (and legs and hearts) are chopping and sawing and bundling and mowing and pulling and raking and more.

It feels so good! And the shape of my yard is coming back -- "Oh! I remember this!"

The early morning hours are still best for writing. The quiet hours with the novel, my editor's comments, my notes from our conversation two weeks ago, and my rested mind, ready to tackle the story. The breeze wafts through the open windows, the birds wake up and sing, and I am lost, deep in 1962.

After mental work in the morning and physical work all afternoon, I get to the end of my day exhausted and exhilarated. I look at my calendar and blink is disbelief (again) -- I've got the whole summer! The entire fall! Into winter and next spring! -- to write, to live here in this house and take good care of it, to allow my mind to rest from the road, and to encourage creativity to come creeping in, as it always does, in small moments of paying attention.

I slip gratefully into the new, deep bath at the end of the day and let those jets I declared I did not want, soothe my sore muscles. Thank you, thank you, thank you -- I say it out loud.

I eat what my body tells me it wants. Last night it was homemade pimento cheese on organic whole wheat bread and a cup of steaming toffee tea with half-and-half -- ha! Every bite was divine. I fell into bed grateful to be alive.

And here I am this morning, beginning again.