Revised is a plague on a writer’s house. Sometimes a do over is necessary but a rewrite is complicated. It resembles moving to a far country. What should I keep? Anything? Should I start from the beginning or where I am? I am not Sherlock Holmes type of person. No magnifying glass sits on my writing desk. I do not investigate life with microscopes. Jots and tittles are for scribes copying manuscripts in alpine monasteries, their hands incased in ink stained fingerless mittens.
Adjustment has been my theme of 2020. We returned from Israel in February and quickly entered into the “close down our lives” mode with the rest of the world. What a great opportunity to clean up fabric to make into masks. I set to work.
The idea of organizing led to cutting fabric, hunting for elastic, finishing a third novel in my mystery series, cleaning closets, rethinking how we should live, what we should eat, and changing our plans over and over again.
September found me knee deep (don’t you love trite phrases) in a rewrite of a novel first published eight years ago. It is a Christmas novel that I had the temerity to think I could get out before the Christmas of 2020. Not a chance. Covid stealthily crept up and flattened us at the end of September.
Can you believe my eye lids still itch and are tender and my brain flits about like bees among pear blossoms? For weeks concentrating for more than a few minutes made my head hurt—literally.
When my husband developed double pneumonia and was in the Covid wing of our hospital, I got a bit compulsive and stormed through my sewing room drawers gathering supplies for a craft group. The errant OCD attack didn’t stop there because then I wrapped embroidery thread onto cardboard, finished a project or two, sorted magazines and sent many things to goodwill. I could still sew a straight seam with my eyes tearing so finished a few lap quilts but…the old novel lay on my desk as an accusation.
What did God want me to do with my days?
Between naps and prayers, I had a minute or two to weave sentences into something. The haunting word—revision raised its red ink pen and I began. The edited word tapestry became a stronger tale and the warp and weave still created the picture I wanted. Would the story of God’s love for a missionary, a jump jockey, and a reprobate shipping magnate impact lives for His kingdom? A do over, if only for my own heart, was satisfying.
We are in a season of gathering memories and examining our own hearts. For us it is a time of stopping, waiting, and prayer. As this troubling year slips into 2021 will the revisions God has asked for in my own life remain or will I delete and try to figure it out on my own?