Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Under Construction

I've heard this said of Wisconsin, too, so I know we're not alone, but Michigan has only two seasons: Winter and Road Construction. In the last few weeks I've noticed the transition. I live on a small street that never gets much attention, but it feeds onto the main east/west street in Ann Arbor, and right now for probably 15 blocks (including where our street feeds onto it) there is only west bound traffic allowed... you want to go east, you have to take the long way. Seems to me though, road construction provides a very apt metaphor for the writing process.

Original Construction

This is fun stuff. Once the land is bought, the only real problem is the diversion of the water table (read: chores). Other than that, it is just plain cool... one day you have nothing, then the foundations are laid, the structure goes into place, and then it begins to take real form. But for the sake of the metaphor, we have to assume your contractor only gets about half of it right the first time, ne? I mean SURE, it LOOKS good... but the plumbing is shoddy, the wiring needs to be recircuited... it just needs some serious help.


And here we get the the primary temptation that often hinders real progress... patches... You got a major pothole, it is tempting to just fill it in so the cars keep from falling through, yeah? Nobody wants to pay the mechanic, so you gotta do SOMETHING, but something CHEAP? Hey, why not?

HERE is why not... the foundation has been compromised. The structure AROUND it is bad and it is just all going to fall in again anyway.

Now if you are insane (as the Ann Arbor city management apparently is), or if you've built the thing on a swamp and your castle keeps falling in, you could just dig up the whole street and start over. But it seems wiser to me, in most cases, to do a careful analysis of where the weak spots are, how far the problem goes, work your way out to solid ground, and then repair what NEEDS to be repaired.

Case in Point

I've been getting feedback on these cozy chapters I hope to submit next week TO MY AGENT (STILL not getting old) and Leanne made some great suggestions on the first two chapters, which I incorporated, but I talked to her last night, she pointed out that YES, right change, but now it is BUMPY. I need to go in with my steam roller and smooth out the darned thing.

So that's what I've got today... I am working hard at road re-construction...

Tangent: I have my flag counter to the side, as you may have noticed, and I LOVE seeing where people come from. Did you know people from 41 countries have visited this blog? That just tickles me in that way I like. In the last few days I've added Iraq, Taiwan, Indonesia and Puerto Rico—how majorly cool is it to think people find you from all over the world?


Cruella Collett said...

*snort* Excellent metaphor! (And excellent illustrations... *drools* Where was I?)

Currently it feels as though I started constructing a highway even though there is only room for a dirt path. So a lot of work and failing and fixing and failing and ploughing and failing and failing and occasionally succeeding. See, your metaphor can be applied to thesis writing as well! I might quote you in my preface...

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

The smoothing process--oh, definitely. Working the transitions in, making it seamless. I've been doing that the last few days while on vacation. It's one of those things that's hard to see at first, but easy to fix. Great metaphor!


Watery Tart said...

Mari-my thesis remained a bumpy road, and it didn't actually GO anywhere, but I can be at least pleased I learned how to construct one... the methods, by the end, were solid.

Elizabeth--LUCKY! Vacations are fabulous... I think... not sure I remember, but it seems like they OUGHT to be great. And yes, the smoothing isn't too hard, once you actually have the right filler in there, so nothing sinks down on you again!

Sugar said...

Ya know..we have the same seasons here in Utar..lol...winter and construction..I think I've even seen a t-shirt about it. Um..love the pics btw..yummyness.
Good luck with the steamroller, and don't crash into any fire hydrants looking at the man candy :)

Megan said...

Good luck with your reconstruction, and sorry about your two seasons, if only road workers were really as attractive as they are in the movies (well, my husband is ;)

B. Miller said...

Good luck on your construction. I hope everything turns out exactly the way you want it to!

Watery Tart said...

Sugar-I have it on good authority that at least construction season in Utah isn't a humid misery... teehee.

And thanks all for the wishes of luck! I really think at the VERY least this time I am in line for some professional feedback if I don't nail it, but I REALLY want to nail it!