Monday, May 5, 2008

I'm trying to write a novel here....

by Margaret Coel

Six months ago, I had a brilliant idea. Two walls of my study could be knocked out to make a bigger study. To get just how brilliant this was, try to picture my study: desk and computer, a pair of stuffed floor-to-ceiling bookcases, flowered loveseat, lamp and two filing cabinets, all jammed shoulder-to-shoulder against the walls around the closet, window and door. Piles of manuscripts, folders, magazines and other important stuff that I mean to get to someday on the floor. To go to work, I had to take two steps into the middle of the study, slowly pivot about and stumble over the piles of papers to the desk. My study was the smallest room in the house. What I needed was S P A C E.

# 1 hubby did not think the idea brilliant. He used other adjectives, none appropriate for a blog. But after six months of being convinced (nagged, he calls it), he conceded this was a splendid idea. So splendid, he is now convinced that it must have been his. And wouldn’t it be great if he also enlarged his study, which happens to be upstairs directly over mine? I guess that means that both studies were the smallest rooms in the house.

Before remodeling could begin, we had to move out of our studies. It appears that 99% of our stuff was contained in the smallest rooms. Who knew? The garage is now crammed with furniture. Cartons of books, papers, folders, magazines—I don’t even know what’s in all those cartons--are stacked around the house. My desk and computer are wedged into a bedroom between the bed, a chest of drawers and stacks of boxes.

Did I mention that I am writing a new novel, due in September?

Dale the contractor arrived and one entire corner of the house vanished. Picture large backhoes and cement mixers rolling across the front lawn, that now no longer exists. Hammers pounding, saws screeching, heavy boots tramping through the still intact parts of the house. Clouds of dust, and everything draped in plastic sheets. I continue writing my novel. I discover the advantages of being wedged into a bedroom corner. It’s so much trouble to get out that I sit at the computer for long periods. Empty tea mug? Too bad. Way too much hassle to get to the kitchen.

If only I could actually get some real work done. With remodeling, I’ve learned, come decisions, decisions, decisions. Dale the contractor knocks on my door and says he needs decisions on such things as electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, closet doors and a lot of other ridiculous details. I fight my way out of the bedroom corner, down the hall lined with cartons and upstairs into the very large space that is materializing into # 1 hubby’s new study. Back down the stairs into the even larger space that is becoming mine. And I make decisions.

Would I like to have him soundproof the walls? Dales wants to know. Soundproof my study? Oh, by all means, I say.

I return to writing my novel. Images of my new study fill my brain. Instead of the old pea green walls, my walls will be painted some new, luscious color that I haven’t yet decided upon. The color will look terrific with the new carpet, not yet selected. There will be lots of space in my closet, as soon as I decide on the shelves. And there will be a big sofa, just in case I should want to take a nap. I should go looking for that sofa soon.

Dale the contractor knocks on my door again. Where do I want the cable box?

Cable box? I’m trying to write a novel here.

“West wall,” I shout. “Where the desk is going.” I’ll need a new desk, I’m thinking. This old desk is not going to work in my new study.

I dive back into my novel. How long will all this remodeling go on? Four more weeks, Dale the contractor says. Translation: Six weeks if all goes well. When was that ever the case with remodeling?

Should my editor happen to read this blog, I’m going to need an extension on that deadline.

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