Sheets on the Line

Whenever I hang out sheets to dry on the line, I think of my mom doing the same thing up north at the cabin in Minnesota where we went every summer when I was a kid. The place had a washer but no dryer, and she depended on energy from the sun to dry clothes for her family of nine. She would flap out the shorts and shirts, dishtowels and jeans, and peg them all efficiently on the white ropes that crisscrossed the back yard. Her shoes would tread paths in the long, unmowed grass, and the screen door would knock gently closed when she finally came back inside.

It was an endless chore, but she didn’t seem to mind it, and those crisp sheets smelled of sunshine when we were tucked in bed at night.

Revising this novel has a similar endless quality to it. After a three-month wait, I have feedback from my agent on my latest draft, and once again I have major work to do. It’s a little discouraging, I admit, and not for the first time I question whether I have what it takes to be a writer. But this isn’t a race. This is about writing the best book I can. This is like putting the sheets out, day after day, and believing the work adds up to a life that’s worthwhile.

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