I've moved to an old house in a neighborhood with big, glorious trees. In truth, I love the shady street more than the house itself. When I was a kid, our house had huge picture windows, all looking out to a big yard filled with trees and shrubs. That's home. That's a haven. Nothing like the stripped-out subdivision where I lived for the last 12 years. I'm middle-aged and too impatient to wait a quarter century for a good shade tree. And so, the old house.
Old houses--I'm one of those suckers who has always fallen for them. Sure, sure, the floors squeak and the windows rattle and the basement looks like a perfect setting for a slasher film. Ah, that's just character. Right?
Now, when brushing your teeth before bed, you hear a faint "drip, drip, drip" coming from somewhere on the first floor and wander down to check the kitchen sink--only to find the kitchen ceiling sagging in a giant bubble . . . well, that's a lot less charming. In the past few months I've learned about electrical wiring, patching drywall, doing a decent skim coat on a lumpy wall, and more about home fixes than I supposed I would. And, I've enjoyed it.
But, dividing my time between tool time and write time, I've slowed my progress and stalled out more than once. I hit a wall. I felt I'd never write another word and never have the ability to "fix" the stories I was revising. I didn't know if I even wanted to try anymore. I checked out books about writers' block and editing and creativity and read them in a panic in those free moments when I should simply have been putting words on paper. Any words. Anything at all. But, in every part of my life, I'd crashed into crazy fix-it mode. Everything needed tending. Everything at once.
Now I'm sitting in an office stripped of wallpaper with white plaster patches on the still-sticky walls. I hardly notice the mess around me. That's how it is when I'm writing. So, the paint cans wait. The balance that looks so much like chaos has returned.
I'm working on what will be the last revision of my first novel. Some more research on the occult in medieval Europe. A little rearranging in the middle of the novel--returning, in part, to the rough draft's storyline. It's almost there.