What To Do When Your Editor Has Your Manuscript

ostrich-with-head-in-sand 2Surprisingly enough, I don’t have any nervous energy waiting for her response. I’m looking forward to her feedback. And, as soon as I receive her comments, I know that I’ll stick my head back into the manuscript and write, revise, and write.

An ostrich doesn’t bury her head in the sand but she does dig a hole in the dirt to use as a nest for her eggs. Several times a day, the ostrich puts her head in the hole and turns the eggs.

Since winning the 2013 – 2014 Loft Mentor Series in Creative Nonfiction, I devoted my time to babying my book. Every spare moment I had went into the work that would result in this baby growing into a manuscript worth publishing. I had a vision. I purged what wasn’t working and kept writing what was.

With my newfound free time, I turned my attention to the cat room. It had become a stockpile of possibly useful stuff. Every time I walked into this room it bugged me. I’m a purger by nature. I don’t like stuff.

Transforming this room became a creative process. I had a vision for the room. I knew that it could be more than it was. Focus, hard work, and purging would bring my vision to fruition.

I’m the purger in our house. That’s my role. I enjoy it. For me it is creative. When Antonio and Crystel get to the point that even they can’t stand their bedrooms, they’ll turn their rooms over to me. I’ll go through every slip of paper, every drawer, every pencil box and organize, toss, give away, and rearrange. At the end of the day they have bedrooms they don’t recognize as theirs.

Of course, there are those moments when I discard something I shouldn’t. Crystel asked me where her grocery bag of papers were. She said, “They are in the memory box like the pictures you took down off the wall, right?”

Sorry, honey, I thought. That paper bag went straight in the trash.

“Ms. Hutton said we’d need those later in the school year.”

“Oooooh,” I replied.

Jody, also enjoys when I get in this state of mind. I can bring orderly to chaos to any kitchen cupboard or linen closet.

Maybe I am a good purger because I don’t have an attachment to stuff.

There isn’t much that I won’t give away. I am one of twelve children and my mother would stack our clean clothes on numbered shelves. We each had a number that corresponded to our birth order. As the fifth child, I was number five. Even so, one day I couldn’t find a pair of blue jeans that I got for Christmas. Finally, I figured out that number six brother was wearing them. Possession became ownership.

173314-stock-photo-sky-movement-head-sand-power-forceI tackled that cat room with the same intensity and focus that I used to write my book.

Within three days, it wasn’t recognizable and I had a new sitting room.

Soon, I’ll be burying my head back into my manuscript. I’ll be a mother to my words. Turning each one over and over. The only difference being … will be where I’m sitting. The cat room has become my favorite creative space. I’m confident I’ll emerge with a book worth reading.

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This entry was posted in Creative process, Family, Writing and tagged , , , , , , by Elizabeth di Grazia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Elizabeth di Grazia

An artist, I follow the nudge inside of me. This nudge led me to write Peace Corps stories, find the front door to the Loft, and to graduate from Hamline’s MFA program. The story that became my thesis for Hamline is woven into my book manuscript: HOUSE OF FIRE: From the Ashes, A Family, a memoir of healing and redemption. It’s a story about family. And a story about love–for my partner Jody and the son and daughter we adopted from Guatemala. Most days, I can be found working as a Human Resource Manager for a foundry in Minneapolis. When I am not at the foundry I may be volunteering as a Police Reserve Officer for Richfield, MN or kicking butt at Kor Am Tae Kwon Do.

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