Pack Your Bags
I have a new kitchen. The sink’s installed, the countertop set, the floor laid, the cabinets assembled. The old kitchen was very old. One cabinet wouldn’t close, the linoleum was peeling up, and the faucet leaked. There was something about the old kitchen that resisted a good cleaning. Not that we didn’t clean it, but there was no cleaning away the old and worn-outedness, and so I have to admit I wasn’t always inspired to grab the broom. The new kitchen, however, is so sparkling clean, so immaculately new, that the first glimpse of breadcrumbs on the counter sends me reaching for a sponge. Also, while we didn’t assemble this kitchen, we did choose everything from paint to knobs, and so in this way it was really our kitchen, while the first kitchen was merely the one that came with the house.
It is s sure sign that something is amiss with my work when I am not drawn to clean it up. The more connected I am to a piece of writing, the more I want to linger over it, trimming and stretching. Some parts don't need additional attention, of course, but oh the pleasure in attending to those that do.
But only if I’m interested. If I hear voice saying, “It’s fine the way it is,” I’m probably not particularly interested. If I don’t care how a sentence reads it’s because I don’t care about what the sentence is trying to say. When I don’t care what a sentence has to say, no amount of cleaning will help; then, I’m just pushing dirt around the floor.
The difference between writing and kitchens, however, is that everyone would agree that the new kitchen is better than the old kitchen. Not always so with writing. What I call worn out and tired someone else might call well crafted. And so here we are again, alone with our preference. That new thing you adore by necessity will sparkle brightest for you first. Let it mean nothing to anyone else for a time. You are never drawn to an object, or an idea – these are only beacons calling you toward a direction. It is the direction that excites you so, the new story you wish to tell about yourself. You saw that new story, you cleaned the kitchen, because you were ready to travel.