A few months ago I had the opportunity to go help someone clean her house while she was in the hospital. It had a regular level of dirt, but it was a breeze! My sister in law was helping me, and we both commented on how easy it was to whip through someone else’s house. But why was it so overwhelming at home? The same level of dirt over at my house would stymie me, make me want to ration the tasks over three days or something, but at this other house, zoom. Two hours knocked it out.
We discussed it as we moved from room to room, and finally we settled on a reason. At our own houses, there’s an emotional attachment to the place and to the mess and the dirt. Each toy left on the floor or pile of crumbs on the kitchen tile has a reason it’s there, a story (that may or may not annoy us as the primary housekeepers in a place where people we love are working against us constantly.)
However, at someone else’s house the stuff is just stuff. Sweep it up, find a place for it. Fold it or chuck it. No meaning or feeling is attached to those items at all. They’re just things. Easy. Done.
This morning on my run, (simultaneously thinking how much I didn’t want to clean my messy house and how tough editing is) and it occurred to me how easy it is to edit (or slash) someone else’s writing. I didn’t put those words on the page, labor over them painstakingly or lovingly. They’re just words, and if they don’t work, they have to go.
In order to edit effectively, I need to emotionally detach from the text and just slash any word that isn’t in the right place. Like a toy on the floor or a weed in the yard. Zloosh. Get rid of it. Sweep it up, chuck it. It’s fine. And things end up a lot cleaner.
Now, to make myself do that.
Oh, did you hear about the new dessert at Burger King? Bacon on a sundae. All I can say is, “It’s about time!” Here’s my recipe for chocolate dipped bacon:
Fry half-strips of bacon until crisp. Cool. Melt semisweet chips and dip bacon. Cool on waxed paper. Serve.
Okay, fine. It’s not fabulous, but it’s not poisonous either. It’s got that salty-sweet thing going on. Surprise friends at the next potluck.