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Pickle Me This

November 15, 2017

In the middle of a reno

The novel as a house is one of my favourite metaphors, and one I’ve used often to explain my experience of working with editors—the way they can open a door and show you that your house has a whole wing you never knew. But right now as I’m at work on my new novel’s third draft, I’m thinking of the metaphor in another sense: I’m in the middle of a reno.

Chapter Two, and a lot of the furniture has been moved move out, put into storage (i.e. into a word doc on my desk top). And we’re knocking walls down, putting in windows and skylights—and basements, ever digging deeper. Raise high the roof beams, carpenters! I have actually, literally, installed a hearth. Lifting up the floorboards to see what’s underneath them, and inside the walls—all the parts of the structure that have been present all along, just waiting for me to find them. The process is fascinating, almost mathematical, the way all the pieces have to fit together, the necessary strength of the structure underlining it all. Knock, knock. Is there integrity? Is this a supporting wall? And if it isn’t, would it matter if we ripped the whole thing down?

There is also a dumpster on the lawn, for all the inevitable detritus. Delete, delete. All the lines I wrote in order to understand what I was thinking, but now that I know, I don’t need them anymore.

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