Let's talk about personal grooming.
(What? It's an important issue.)
I like to think of myself as a clean person. I shower. I brush my teeth. I depilate* on a regular basis. I wear clean clothes most of the time, and always remember to change my underwear, in case I get hit by a truck, because lord knows I wouldn't want to mortify my mother if the docs in the ER were to speculate I might be wearing less-than-fresh panties**.
On any given day, if, say, a surprise guest showed up on my doorstep, I would not present an absolutely appalling picture. (Unless examined very closely or in harsh sunlight, of course. Then all bets are off.) But I certainly don't take the time to go through every single grooming ritual on a daily basis. I mean, I do have a life. Things to do, don'tcha know.
You're reading one of those things right now. But, in case you're wondering, I will be shaving my legs this morning. And my pits. And I'll even buff my heels with one of these:
Because tonight I'm playing Cinderella and going to The Ball with TG--a job-related, highly formal event, wherein the foundation he works for seduces money out of rich people who happen to be patrons of the arts (and we love each and every one of their generous hearts, yes we do!). It's a special occasion, so I'm trying harder than usual.
[BTW, those aren't my feet. I thought you should know, in case you're a closet foot fetishist, and might be tempted to develop a crush on me based upon an unrealistic image.
Not that my own feet are awful. I mean, I use the dry-skin-grater-offer thingamajig and a special lotion and everything. I even have peachy-pink toenails. I just don't have a picture of me using the thingamajig, because, frankly, TG thinks it's pretty gross, and wouldn't play photographer for me. Not that he doesn't appreciate the fruits of my labors, even if he isn't a foot fetishist. Who doesn't enjoy a smooth foot? He just doesn't want to watch me do it. You might even say it grates on him. (Uh, sorry.)]
You are by now probably thinking, what in the HELL is Linda getting at with all this nonsense? (Isn't it amazing how psychic I am? Honestly, it's a gift.) Well, I'll tell ya.
*Ahem* Personal grooming is not unlike what we do with our writing when we revise. When we edit and tweak, plump it up and pare it down, it's kind of like washing and shampooing and plucking and shaving. All that stuff we do to put the finishing touches on a manuscript before we send it out into the world?
It's hygiene for our writing.
A lot of writing is akin to the everyday grooming basics--don't sweat it, it's fine as long as it doesn't stink. Just get the words down, relax, and call it done.
But some writing is like going to The Ball--you want it to be as polished as possible before unveiling it to the world. Like before you send it out to an agent or editor. Now, nobody--and no manuscript--is ever perfect. Some probably have an inborn radiance, sure, but hell's bells, even Angelina Jolie looks better with a little make-up, right? And she probably smells as bad as anyone else if she doesn't take a shower. The thing is, you work with what you've got, and you try set it off to its best advantage.
All I'm saying is, some occasions call for a little more effort***, whether you're dressing up you or your manuscript. Just something to think about...while I go grate my heels, tweak my brows, and figure out which uncomfortable pair of shoes I'm going to dance in tonight.
*depilate: to remove hair from the body.
**Though if I get hit by a bus, the state of my underwear would probably undergo a sudden and drastic change. If you get my drift. So what does it really matter?
***Sadly, I'm afraid I didn't shave this post's legs. Sorry, but I was pressed for time. You understand, don't you?