Our house is getting painted. Like too many of life’s ventures, we set off on this one with glee, only to quickly thunk to earth. Who knew color was so crazy complicated? There is no such thing as yellow or green or even gray, and don’t get me started on white. (The names don’t help the confusion–who wouldn’t want a house painted Dragon’s Breath rather than Knapsack?) Our house is tall and pointy and surrounded by old trees, which means that the light up top doesn’t match the light on the bottom, and when it comes to color, light makes all the difference (If in my next life I’m lucky enough to come back as an artist who intuits all this, I’ll be an en plein air painter, lugging my easel across poppy-bright meadows, flicking my brush as the lark sings overhead).
Anyway. No sooner did we choose colors (out of bewildered exhaustion more than certainty) than it began to rain. What a bizarre July–so wet and so cool, for a few days I padded around in wool socks.
But the clouds have parted and the painters are here! Hooray! Only they listen to talk radio! (Were there a paint crew that pledged to listen to Diane Rehm, I’d hire them sight unseen). And remember about the house being tall and pointy? The screech of extension ladders? Ee-yoo!
(Speaking of ee-yoo: All this makes me sound like an entitled and obnoxious suburbanite, I know! Really, we are flabbergasted and grateful to be able to afford to hire painters. The house was last painted twenty years ago, and it was Paul climbing those awful, scary ladders. So we feel very privileged–and old–to be paying others this time around).
All this tests my concentration and so far my grade is C-. But lucky for me, I’m working on Book 3 in the CODY series. Cody is not a girl who gives up. She stands ever-ready to help. The sight of someone in trouble twangs her heart. Right now, she’s having a bit of trouble herself. The new book is about rules, not high on her list of favorite things. Also, confusing. For example, everyone and his uncle knows that stealing is wrong wrong wrong. But is it stealing if you’re taking back something that belongs to you? Cody is keeping me thinking (and laughing).
Revising the first draft of my new middle grade novel is up next. This book’s form is different from anything I’ve tried before. Remember these puzzles?
(Hey, just realized this: the way we used to work these, with our thumbs, was great practice for texting. ) That’s how the book’s elements feel to me right now. I’m sliding them this way and that, hoping to make a whole, but not right away, and not in a predictable sequence. Tricky fun. (For a book that does this masterfully, see Emily Jenkins’s “We Were Liars”, which I read in one sitting on a recent plane trip).
By the way, the house paint we picked is Hinoki. Can you guess what color that is?