Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Drafts of Poop

"The first draft of anything is shit" --Ernest Hemingway

These words of education are intermingled with Stephen King's On Writing. While perched on top of their giant shoulders, I have learned to keep writing/bleeding through that rough draft without looking back and turning into a pillar of salt. The current crap I am wading through is for Massage Therapists.

Please don't divulge my prior secret identity, but for a dozen years I was a massage therapist. It was the 'day job' that I happened to love. Actually, it's not that I don't want it known that I rubbed shoulders in exchange for mortgage payments and tofu. I am not ashamed of my previous income source. Massage was a great career. What other job is there in which people are so happy to see you? Everybody loves the massage woman.

The big problemo with people finding out that I know how to take away aches and pains, is that I always had to wonder if they loved me for my hands or my witty personality. And, as soon as they had knowledge of my profession I would hear, "Oh, I could really use a good massage."

They would gaze at their tight shoulders and then stare pleadingly into my eyes. Kind of like the dogs when I stand near their jar of biscuits. For the people, I would answer that I could use a really good massage, too. For the dogs, I just eat the biscuit in front of them and laugh.

No, I don't really do that. No human likes dog biscuits.

Anyway, back to writing rough drafts. This is my fourth non-fiction book and they are not the joy and laughter that sprays out when I write the Scout and Ellie series for kids. Eventually, I will revise this latest book to add my humor that I pray other people appreciate. But that first time? Every completed chapter is like spitting up a dry tooth ripped out of my mouth with rusty pliers. So far, three are done, so that means three stripped teeth. Good thing I have dental insurance.

Oh, is someone out there going to ask why I am writing/bleeding/vomiting something that is not fun? Well, you must be one of those not-addicted-to-writing types I've heard rumors about. You don't know the inner horrors of having creatures/words/information/stories nailed into your skull that can only escape your body through the magical thing called a computer keyboard.

See, I have all of this experience of having been a soother of tight muscles and I have to rip it out of me to make the memories stop haunting me day and night. If I don't  pass it on the the next generation of therapists, I will never have a moment of tea sipping peace again. It is just that bad.

Oh, the anguish of the massage therapist turned writer. Well, at least I have a way to destroy/murder/kill/humiliate my memories.

The funny part is, I don't even care if my plethora of facts and wisdom will truly help someone. I just have to get it out so that I can go on with my life of joy and bliss, laughter and stories.

Okay, well, I guess I do care. It would be nice to have been a service to at least a few hundred thousand million therapists. Passing on my knowledge to the next batch of healers would feel rather pleasant.

Rather like Hemingway must have felt knowing that his First Draft Shit philosophy helps so many of us keep trudging on through the muck of every day doo-doo.  That guy is my hero.

Heather Leigh,
Proud member of the Church of First Draft Shit

No comments:

Post a Comment