Weeding and Mulching – Mixing My Metaphors

Last night I had multiple dreams, nightmares really, about weeds and mulch.  A big pile of mulch in my living room that never diminished.  Me on my knees weeding a garden during a party I hosted.  Cleaning out a flower bed and turning to grab a tug of bark dust, only to find everything I just weeded – everything – had grown back.

If the nightmares weren’t about weeds and bark, they were about editing.  Yes, editing.  I have spent too many days reviewing, tightening, and strengthening this latest novel.  Is that word the perfect one, or is this better?  I see the characters’ motivations, but will someone who hasn’t spent months immersed in them?  In my dreams, I lost the words, searching for them under my desk and moving neat stacks of paper, like I’d misplaced an important pen.

UGH!

The similarities in these night-musing topics couldn’t be more profound.  A weed is a plant growing in a place where you don’t want it.  A word is a word is a word – unless it’s not in the right one for your sentence.  Mulch replaces weeds to hold the bed together and muffle the wrong plants from coming back again.  Replacing the word or sentence structure with something better ties the story together too.

Obviously I’m having project completion issues.  I had hoped to have this newest book, Riffing with the Muse, released this month, May.  I also don’t want to push to release something that I don’t believe is ready, so I pushed it back to July.  Meanwhile, we’ve had a pile of either garden dirt or bark dust in our driveway – big piles – for over six weeks.

It.  Never.  Ends.

Examples and parallels abound.  The completed draft of the manuscript weighed in at a whopping 115,000 words before this brutal edit began.  My books are usually about 95K, meaning I needed to cut on average, 288 words per page.  That’s a MAJOR weeding job!

The dirt and mulch came in three loads, six cubic yards, followed by two of seven apiece.  Each load – each one – was the size of a large SUV.  That’s a lot of you-know-what to move when you’re doing it wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, and you have to walk is longer than the distance most of us go between our cars and the grocery store.

My goals for the rest of the month are simple.  Make the last of the mulch disappear.  (I have to admit, the yards and beds are looking amazing!)  Finish the brutal tightening edit.  (I’m pretty happy with the results to date.)

Then, maybe I can sleep easy!

Do you ever find themes or patterns coming up in your life – and then reflected in your dreams?