On Building Houses

So I’ve been editing this book and it feels like I’m sawing off my arm with a butter knife. Every single day. I mean, really. It’s been absolutely torturous. And I’ve been plugging away at it hoping to have some sort of breakthrough, or reprieve, but instead I just get more kicks in the face. And somewhere in the midst of this three month process (yes, it has taken me three months to edit the shortest work I’ve written) I’ve slipped into negativity, fallen into an angry slump where I approach the computer as if it were an annoying customer at a retail store and I was the sales associate, and that customer’s sole purpose is to knit-pic and antagonize me about how mediocre my product and I are. How my technique could be more refined. How the quality just isn’t where it needs to be. Blah, blah, blah.

But I felt differently today. Don’t get me wrong, the kicks in the face were still there, and the work was just as complex and annoying as usual, but I ended my pity party, and refocused on what it is I’m doing. Not just with this book…but what I’m REALLY aiming to do. Sometimes I get so caught up in the world of Jason, the strange, self-serving place where I battle my issues by hiding them under my accomplishments, that I forget the beauty and purpose of this whole thing ā€” this life as a writer.

My job, in essence, is to build houses. And ain’t nobody ever built a house, without straining their back, without wood splintering their hands, without having to recut, remeasure, or rework something. Quitting has never EVER been an option for me, but I’ve decided to muzzle the complaining, and edit ME. Because I don’t need negativity to line the walls of my house. I don’t need any cracks in the glass, termites in the wood. I’m building houses of love and passion and discipline, for someone ā€” some stranger out there ā€” to someday feel comfortable calling home for a while.

And that’s a special, special thing.


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