Thursday, December 6, 2007

Shoveling Manure

People used to tell me how lucky I was to live on a farm. They had this romantic idea about farm life.

I'd smile. Yep. But the truth is, it was really boring. And it was lonesome. And dull. And hard work. A lot shoveling manure, no matter what the weather, no matter how I felt.

These days people tell me how lucky I am to be able to write. And they have this romantic idea about a writer's life.

And I think oh yeah, romantic. But the truth is, it's lonesome and tedious. Not that I'd trade it. But I think about how many times I go over and over the same sentence. I never, ever get it right. It's like going back into a stall I thought I'd cleaned a thousand times, and finding fresh, steaming shit.

There is just no end to the manure you have to shovel in this world. I swear, this is the one and only truth.

I sometimes imagine there are invisible critters I never see, but the minute I turn my back or shut my eyes, they enter my rooms, stories, or poems, or any other place I thought I'd polished, cleaned, perfected, and they start crapping. Some are subtle, and leave only tiny marks, maybe little teeth punctures. I don't notice at first. (Even editors let me get by with a few mouse turds in between my better lines.) Other's I don't even want to think about. I mean, they let loose. It's just what happens. The evidence is everywhere. And what can I do about it?


Erin O'Brien said...

I understand all too well.

There is the Battle of the Daily Word that you so eloquently detailed here. But there is also the Lord of Rejection, the fire-breathing Editor from Hell, and the sneering Anonymous Online Critic to contend with.

Effing hell, why do we do it? Not sure about that, but I am sure it's a damn good thing we do.

Writing is an impossible, beautiful, wild-eyed, unfaithful lover, driving us wild at every turn.

So write on, baby and drink deeply of her charms. Brave her stinging slaps. Don't worry. I'm over here sipping a whiskey and watching on. I got your back when the critters get big and mean.

Karen at Pen in Hand said...

Well, I still think you were lucky to live on a farm, shit and all. And I know you're lucky to be the kind of writer you are with the talent you have. I don't mean "you're just lucky, that's all." I mean only that it's a good kind of life. Shit and all.

sevnetus said...

I shoveled manure and urine soaked straw. I got fired because this two year old filly ducked under her lead shank when she head butted me in play. She scared herself. She was very expensive. The owners sided with her.