Am staring down this novel, while vacuuming up the copious schmutz with which our new puppy covers all surfaces.
His non-allergenic poodle fur doesn’t shed, so there is less fur to sweep.
BUT his curls act like Velcro for the crispy bits of twig, bark, leaves, and parched, withered death that this drought and I have created in the name of zero-scaping.
His extremely effective dirt-delivery system, teamed with his enthusiastic interest in pinecones, shoes and paper products has effectively replaced the dirty dishes, wet towels, sticky wrappers, and smelly laundry with which my children filled the nest until quite recently.
So, time-wise, I’m still cleaning.
By way of encouragement, I tell my writing students that there is something learned by the completion of each book that makes it easier to write the fifteenth novel than the fifth...
BUT I’m not entirely sure I believe that.
In fact, if there is anything I am sure of, it is that each novel writes itself differently.
You may learn the basics on the first one: How to carry it so you don’t bash its soft spot on every door jam.
How to diaper it.
How to attach a car seat...
BUT beyond that you must discover / re-invent on a per project (book / baby) basis.
For example -- You could get Kid #1 to shut up by strapping it into that automatic swing, AKA the electric chair, and setting the timer for next Thursday.
BUT Kid #2 arches the back, goes ridged, and will have none of it.
Novel #6 filled itself with jokes, whereas Novel #11 took itself very seriously.
And so I struggle against the encroaching squalidifying of my home, as much now with this filth-hound as I once battled the onslaught of Barbie shoes and lego.
And I wrestle the new novel as if I’d never attempted such a battle before.
Odd, ain’t it?