Monday, August 22, 2011

The Toothbrush Edit

Our bathroom sink rests upon a vanity that has two doors. One hides three drawers in which we keep things like medication, razors, deodorant, and toothbrushes. The other contains various cleaning supplies and a small trash can.

When in stealth mode, I am invisible. Photo by Gracey Stinson
This morning I discovered that if one leaves the door to the trash open, our smallest cat will dart inside the vanity and… disappear.

Concerted searching yielded no cat in or around the trash. Like Lucy in the wardrobe, she was gone.

Now, I’m all for magic portals in my house that transport one to another world. But the skeptic in me refused to believe that Tiny Kitty had discovered it.

More thorough searching revealed the truth:

She slinks through a tiny open area and curls up on our toothbrushes!


Of course, the cat was ousted and the brushes destroyed. But she went there with such purpose. Which makes me wonder how often she has done this particular maneuver. Without our knowledge.
This upsets you? HA! Wait'll you hear where else I've been sitting!

~all over body shudder~

The Great Toothbrush Incident is like editing.

I write it, and it’s great. I re-read it, and still think it’s great. Then my betas get hold of it. And, like a toothbrush full of cat fur, I suddenly realize that what I thought was necessary HAS TO GO! The sooner the better.

Of course, though I threw the toothbrushes out, I immediately got new ones. One must have daily oral hygiene. Likewise, the offending words must be replaced with newer, cleaner prose.

Minion! What have you done with my butt grooming salon?
The tendency, once I see a major problem in a work, is to berate myself and wonder how I could have missed it for so long. But that’s just counterproductive water down the drain. The important thing – more important than changing either tainted tools or text – is taking proper steps to ensure the problem never happens again.

We all make mistakes. We are all capable of learning from them. And we’re all capable of remembering to close the door to the vanity to keep the cat off the toothbrushes.


Anonymous said...

Great post!

Theoretically, we're all capable. Apparently, though, some of us are slow learners.

Just when I think I've ousted a particular mistake from my repertoire, it slithers around behind me and pops up in a different place, shedding furiously.

Fortunately, I'm a cat lover, so I'm prepared to deal with the eternal struggle. :-)

Ami Hendrickson said...


Oh, those pesky recurring mistakes. If only it could be a "once learned, forever mastered" deal. Eternal vigilance is required! Just like one must be vigilant in shutting the blasted vanity door...

Onward and upward!