Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bad Sewing Karma, Editing Dread, The Big Leap Explained

I have bad sewing karma. I don’t know what it is—I’ve just never been any good at it and I’ve never had any patience for it. Needles constantly slip out of my sweaty sausage fingers, and I have no control or technique whatsoever. A few weeks ago, my friend showed me how to edge my rug, and even started it for me. I tried multiple times to continue her work, and just kept pulling out stitches in frustration until I finally gave up and turned the whole project over Mr. Typist, who, as turns out, has a hidden talent for repetitive tasks that require super-human patience. He edged the whole thing for me in the course of a single afternoon. Now I just have to decide if I want to make it into a pillow or a wall hanging. Then I have to wheedle him into finishing it for me. In the meantime, I’ve started a new, smaller rug with a very simple sunflower design. Why a sunflower? Because I need some hope, damnit. I need to make something cheery and simple and sweet. I got the entire sunflower filled in during the Democratic debate last night, which gave me a much-needed sense of accomplishment.

The onus of copy-editing my novel has landed in my lap again, as my dastardly scheme to have to my friend do it for me fell through. I made some okay progress on it last weekend, but I was simply unable to face it yesterday. I have a chunk of pages from early in the book that need a re-write, but I’m completely stumped as to how to “fix” them. It feels like decoding a huge, complicated logic puzzle. So I’ve landed on the brilliant strategy of distracting myself by reading multiple online articles about how to copy edit your own novel. So far, Chuck Wendig is my favorite advice-giver on the topic. I’m going to work on it more today, I’m going to, but first I have to go to Fred Meyer and buy socks. And dust the blinds and re-arrange the bookshelves and alphabetize the spice rack.

Now that everything has been stamped and made official, I can reveal the Big! Leap! Of! Faith! referred to in my last post. It’s a transfer from my current hospital campus in downtown Seattle to one right here in my own neighborhood, just a few blocks from where I live. I’ll be doing essentially the same job, and will keep the same title, but I’ll be leaving behind the known for a new culture, a new setting, a new team of volunteers and staff, and whole new set of challenges. I’m scared and excited and sad and all of the other things you feel when you take a risk and leave the familiar behind. It feels like it happened really fast, and part of me is still reeling from it, but I have a quiet sense of faith that it’s all going to be okay. I start at my new campus in mid-December, a good time for transitions.

Finally, I have been thinking about this very carefully, and I have decided that it’s time to bring back the word “swell”—as in “Aw, that's just swell, Jimmy!” It’s a great word, and I don’t know why it fell out of favor. What’s not to love? It’s short and vivid and pleasing to the ear. I’m hereby starting a campaign to return it to the common lexicon. So if you could start finding ways to drop it into your daily conversation, well, that would be just swell.

1 comment:

Frank Moraes said...

I think that it is wonderful that Mr Typist has a knack for needlework! One thing I've found fascinating studying anthropology is that there do seem to be gender tendencies toward tasks, but they aren't nearly as strict as they are in our modern society. In general there would be roughly 20% women doing the "hunting" and 20% men doing the "gathering." I'm pretty hopeless with a needle, but the kitchen in my natural environment.

I'm willing to copy edit your novel if you send me small chunks. But I think you should wait until you figure out your problem at the beginning of the novel. Having read it now twice, I must admit to not recalling any real problem at the beginning of the novel. But trusting you (And why wouldn't I?!) my experience is that when copy editing is done too early, it has to be done again -- and at that point, no one can really take it as seriously as it needs to be.

I love the word "swell"! Count me in. I like it even more as a noun. It's got that Great Depression sound to it, "I wonder what the swells are doing tonight?" I checked my blog and I always use it as a verb "to swell" or as "groundswell." I will make it my task to use the word at least once per day for the next week. If I can, I'll cram it into every post. But that might be asking too much.

It's swell that you're moving to a new job!