Whew! This afternoon I finished the most major part of getting a book ready to be published. I got it back from my editor several weeks ago with red lines and things highlighted and rows of comments in bubbles down the side indicating what needed attention. These comments were of varying degrees of severity, from "You must change this to meet publisher standards," to "Are you sure you want to say this?" to, "What are your thoughts on..." Overall, the comments were astute, helpful, and easy to fix.
Then the hard part -- I read through the book myself, and was far tougher on me than my editor was. I tweaked and fussed and played with commas and word choice and tightened things up and fluffed things out, making sure big points were coming across clearly, until I reached a point where I couldn't remember what I was trying to say any longer. I know when I reach that point, it's time to dump the whole mess back on the shoulders of the editor to find out if I've made things worse, better, or should put everyone out of their misery and delete the whole thing, break contract, and never write another word again.
So do you think I went out and celebrated the worst phase being over? Kicked back and relaxed the rest of the day? At least went out for a walk to get some exercise? Heck, no. I cleaned my refrigerator. I had this overwhelming desire to do something completely normal, that normal people do, that had nothing to do with being a writer, and that when I was done, I could look at the sparkling shelves and see that I'd accomplished something other than moving squiggles around on a screen.
Yeah, about that refrigerator. I generally go into a cleaning frenzy right before the school year starts, because I know, correctly, that once my school year schedule begins, housework deteriorates to a weekly pass through with the vac, a wipe here and there in the bathroom, and keeping on top of laundry. Tackling a project just doesn't happen. So as I began my archaeological dig through the fridge, I wasn't surprised to find an unopened package of cream cheese marked to expire on last day August. That made sense. It would have been August that I last saw the back of that drawer. I tossed the cheese.
Then I found two cans of cranberry sauce. Huh. Left over from Thanksgiving? I always make my own from scratch. What were these doing? I checked the dates. "Expires 9/09." Three years ago? I began to get a horrible feeling. It hadn't really been three years since I'd cleaned the fridge, had it?
I dug deeper, and found something in a Ziploc back that might once, in a previous incarnation, been a green pepper. Scary. It joined the cream cheese, along with bottles of relish with just a dribble left at the bottom, a ketchup bottle that didn't look promising, and a bottle of ranch dressing that might have one squeeze left in it, but which nobody was going to be bothering with. I found a bottle of spiced rum that I'm sure I'd never seen before (oldest daughter is over 21 now, and so is her boyfriend, so things like that appear occasionally. Still gives me an odd feeling like I ought to explode and be all over it, then remember it's okay now. But what happened to the days of opening the freezer to a Popsicle explosion?)
That line of thought brought me to tackle the freezer. I'm known for freezing bread, and sure enough, I hoed out about six loaves with just the crusts left. I found some packages of hamburg that had freezer burn written all over them, a box of frozen crab rangoon that I'd been saving for a special occasion, a few tubs of ice cream that had gone all icky, lots of juice cans that had fallen into the far back. And six (six?) ice packs -- the kind you put on your head when it aches, or your knee when you twist it -- that were the same brand that the nurse at my high school provides.
Okay, so I kind of remembered bringing one home a while ago, holding it to my head as I drove with one of those pounding headaches that only a day in a high school can give you. And there might have been a couple that I stuck in my bag intending to return to the nurse that I'd borrowed when my knee was hurting, or the time I bent my wrist over backward. But six? Really? No, wait. My daughter's boyfriend is an EMT. These must be some he'd bought. Okay. No guilt. Nor were they a reflection of how long it had been since I'd cleaned the freezer.
Those cans of cranberry sauce must have been stuck in there by somebody else as well. Relief!
Nice clear fridge, edits away, life is good.
Oh, my editor just emailed me back saying that all looks good. And could I get working on the marketing form next, please?
Of course I could. (Grumble, grumble.)
I dare you to leave me a comment on what's lurking in the depths of your refridgerator! ;)