Monday, August 3, 2009

Bulk Trash Day

The first Monday of every month is 'bulk trash' day in our neighborhood. Every Tuesday, the regular trash and recycling is picked up. Monthly, the trash that doesn't fit in the trash bin goes in a heap in a certain place by the driveway and City workers come and remove it at the crack of dawn.

During the housing boon people flipping house put extra, not so good furniture out they weren't moving with them or shouldn't have moved. Mostly we put out palm branches and other yard clippings.

In our yard, we have sections of the decorative rock and low water plants that are typical to the area, but not really wise as once thought. It was a short sighted idea that is now proving to increase the Phoenix heat dome.

We have small cuevy shaped patches of grass in the front and back yards, which in combination with the surface of the pool, help erase our footprint. The short term thinkers who brought us the rock look are the ones who complain about the demoisturizing of the monsoons. In third grade we learned about the water cycle, but these people forgot the evaporation component.

I always start with these ecology thoughts as I work in the yard. I'm proud that we haven't caved to the $100 one-time water credit to convert the yard to full rocks.

As the day wore on, I moved to the back yard where I could work in my swim suit and jump in the pool to cool down. As I was standing in the shade with water up to my neck and cool tiles at my back, I looked at my progress. I began to think about rewrites and editing, and how it seems impossible to get beginners not to edit until the first draft is fully written.

I looked at the yellow Mexican Bird of Paradise that rarely blooms (I don't know why) that I had just trimmed. I have finally agreed that if it doesn't bloom this year, it goes and gets replaced with something else, probably the red and orange variety (those are beautiful). All of this reminded me of scenes that just don't work, often one of the writer's favorite scenes.

I've said before it is nothing for me to cut 20,000 words from an ms during rewrites. Afterwards, the story is a lot like our yard, tidy, inviting, purposeful. Not only does fiction mirror life, the process of being a writer is much like many other things we do, like bulk trash day.

Those are my thoughts for August's bulk trash day. Yeah, I know - probably got too much sun. Keep writing and enjoy reading.


  1. Hi Nadine,

    You read my thoughts. Michael Legat at Writer's Service calls it Permanent Revision Syndrome. It's just to easy to start fiddling through the same chapter over and over again and spend more energy on revising than mowing forward with your story. It killed my enthusiasm for the last thing. Now I'm heroicaly resisting the temptation to read the same thing over and over again. It will never be perfect-but I guess any writer is ever truly convinced his work is perfect-only as best as it gets it this moment.

    I envy you for your pool. I seek my escape in your beach. In Kathryn's and Karen's beach.


  2. Ivy,

    The pool came with the house, most of them have a pool - sort of like having a door and windows. This is Phoenix, it can get 118 F for days during the summer. But a pool is a responsibility, like a pet, it needs care...and probably best not to have one with small children. What are your summer's like?

    Ah, you've started reading KB. Good. Imagine the cool breeze...the Pacific is a chilly ocean on the west coast of US.

    Yeah, don't do that pre-editing makes the story jumpy, rough. We learn that awful habit in school when writing short pieces, but it is bad to do in novels. Write straight through, like completing a thought. Then do rewrites a couple of times, straight through again so you don't change your tone. It shows if you don't do it that way, besides you'll enjoy writing more if you don't edit the draft until the end.

  3. I started editing as I went, now I just get on with it and will tidy up, bulk style at the end. :)

    I love my pool, I clear my mind as I swim or think of new chapters. We have the same temp as you here in Cyprus, and the pool much needed for a cool off.

  4. Hello Glynis,

    I read your blog today about adding in sensory components to create more dimension to your characters. Perfect advise. I went back through my mind thinking about whether I do that or not, or if enough or too much.

    Great advice. Look here, everyone:

  5. Yahoo, Howdy, and Hello. Checking in.