Plumbing the Depths

So, I’m writing this book, Run with Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo. It will be published in a mere 82 days. My late grandmother-in-law would say, “Oh, boysie.”

I submitted my first draft a few weeks ago and then twiddled my thumbs while my highly trained, incredibly bright, probably tired of my crap editors read and commented on my sophisticated poo ponderings. I toyed around with some novel ideas, going so far as to sketch out some characters. I sewed a few things. I celebrated the end of another school year with the little Luits. I caught up on New Yorkers that had begun to make a leaning tower of ignored wit and brilliance under my desk.  I sort of forgot about my book, in the hands of these editorial ne’er-do-wells. What they say about ignorance is true: it is indeed bliss.

We had a tete-a-tete about my first draft last week. Honestly, I knew what was coming. I knew which passages they would identify as runts of the litter, needing a bit more nurturing than their siblings, robust with health and proper grammar. I knew the editors would have some kind words and I knew they would have some —how shall I put this?— criticisms. I was prepared.

The conversation started with praise, which, really, is there a better way to start anything? And then, my ability to reason and speak vanished. To be clear, my editors were kind, courteous and 100% right. They were gentle, thoughtful and firm. Their suggestions would make my book more cohesive, more complete, more betterer.*

They asked me for one simple thing: to go deeper. I sighed a diva sigh. I rolled my eyes. I stomped my foot a little bit. I stopped short of hurling myself on the floor, kicking my feet and hollering a storm.

I didn’t want to go deeper. I wanted to just float along on the pristine surface of the stories.It’s easier there. It’s prettier there. The sun shines. The birds chirp. I can see what’s coming and going. I didn’t mind the idea of poking a stick at the surface, just enough to create a little ripple, but plunging in? Nope. Not having it.

Going deeper is tough. It’s scary.Going deeper, in aquatic terms, requires special gear. It means a change in pressure. Deeper means darker, oceanically speaking. It means slimy, muddy, murky, populated with slippery, scaly unknown things. Looking at that calm surface, I can pretend that whatever lurks in the depths isn’t really there. Oh, I just love pretending!

Of course they’re right, these editorial geniuses. They know what will make a better book. They know that poking the surface is okay for awhile but at some point it’s sort of unsatisfying. And so I shall spend my summer plumbing the depths, running many miles and heaving more diva sighs. Soon, I’ll be on the other shore, gazing at the calm surface again.

How about you?

*I know betterer is not a word.