I got back to the place I was before I stopped to go back and fix things. I've only lost five pages this time (which is a huge improvement: most of the other times I've done this on this book--and this, for those of you counting, is draft #6--I've lost between forty and a hundred pages). I am trusting (mostly Ted) that I'm on the right path (because the alternative is unthinkable). When I said this to Ted, he said, "Are you stuck?"
No; I haven't gotten as far as stuck. What I am right now is *afraid*. Afraid that if I sit down and write it's going to be the wrong thing yet again, and that I'm going to have to go back and tear it out yet again. And after I said that to Ted, I did the huge enormous exhausted sigh that I hear myself doing in the "I got the revision letter and now I'm trying to figure out how to make this book work because the editor has rightfully pointed out all the things that are wrong with it" stage. That did not fill me with confidence.
So I went out to see if I could buy a shovel on a Sunday. Not, as one might think, to bury the manuscript with, but to do some heavy manual labor on the garden with. I thought that oughta make me feel better about writing for a living. :)
As it happened, the hardware store we usually go to was open, so I went in and said to yer man that I needed a shovel, watched a blank expression cross his face, and corrected myself: I needed a spade. Ah, well, in that case, he had what I needed right here, a spade and fark set which would cost me less than I'd pay for a spade elsewhere (at seventeen euro ninety-five, I expect he's entirely right), and I said well the price was right, but what was the fark? (It did say "spade & fork" on the set, so I knew what "fark" was, except I didn't have any idea what sort of implement a fork (or a fark) might be that it would go so well with a spade. I am obviously not an American Farm Girl.) About two seconds after I asked I realized, and said, "Oh, oh, a pitchfork!", which, I got the impression, was a word he recognized but wouldn't have considered using.
Anyway, so I went away with the fark and spade, and have uprooted two grimly determined plant stubs, at least one of which came up with a tag announcing it was a dahlia, and I have scraped a...6x8? or so area partially clear of the hideous vines which are choking it, and I have admired what can rightfully, I think, be called "rich black soil", which up until this point has always been a phrase out of fiction for me. And I have flipped a piece of concrete which used to safely hide eight hundred zillion potato bugs from the cruel world, and have gone GLGLHGGHL at all of their squirmy selves. Just not a bug person, I. I have also determined that if I'm going to be doing this kind of thing I need to get some work boots immediately so I don't destroy my expensive new tennies, and probably a pair of work gloves wouldn't be a bad idea. And when it began raining on me I took that as a sign to come inside, and so I have.
Right now the garden looks kind of deceptive. Dad did a fantastic job of clearing out the top half so it's all down to the matted vines that need to be scraped and chopped and killed. The bottom half is a couple-three feet down from the top (there was a small wall there at one point, and may sort of still be), and the vegetation in the bottom comes right up to the same level that the top half has been cleared down to. So it *looks* overgrown but more or less even, whereas in fact if you go past the point where Dad stopped, you will plummet to your DOOM.
I've decided that maybe the best thing to do is to get the top half under control before even thinking about the bottom half. It's by far a large enough area to use, yet just small enough to not seem overwhelming. If we only manage the top half by summer, well, that would still be a huge improvement, and if we can get *that* much done, well heckfire, then there's only half of it left to do! And it really is a fantastic garden, and I want the nephews to be able to come down and play in it! (Hell, I want me to be able to go play in it!)
That was really quite satisfying, I must say. :)