Monday, September 13, 2010

Manuscript Hospital

Post by Jenny

Last year, a friend gave me a live orchid plant. I was appreciative but apprehensive. After all, orchids are the Paris Hilton of potted plants, and I wasn’t sure if my pale greenish thumb was up to the task. When my friend confessed that she had killed off her own orchid in about five minutes, I was sure my plant’s fate was sealed.

I parked the orchid in my living room and left it alone. I figured if it was going to die of something, neglect was easier than over-care. I did water it as directed, but little else—other than the occasional apology for its imminent demise.

To my surprise, it stayed fresh and beautiful for the longest time. Then it appeared to take a turn for the worse. One bloom after another dropped off under cover of darkness, and I thought the end was near. But the plant still looked healthy. Sure enough, it eventually produced a little bud and flowered again. When the second round of blooms withered, I knew what to expect.

This time, two buds appeared.

That was months ago.

I’m still waiting.

My husband doesn’t believe that the buds will develop into anything, but I’m not willing to give up. I know the plant can and will bloom again. The poor thing’s progress may be achingly slow, I thought as I watered it the other day, but at least it’s not dead yet.

Then I realized: that’s exactly how I feel about my manuscript.

My orchid-giving friend told me that in tony SoCal, there are such things as orchid hospitals, where orchid lovers nurture the plants through their times of dormancy. Oh, how I wish for something like that for my manuscript. Instead of languishing on my hard drive all summer while I take my boys to the pool and the movies and watch their baseball games, how much nicer it would be for my manuscript to spend that time with a caring professional.

I imagine the manuscript hospital as more of a spa—new-age music, gurgling water fountains, graceful palms. Every day the manuscripts (for surely mine isn’t the only one) receive fresh air and sunshine and gentle exfoliation to remove all unnecessary adverbs and dialogue tags. They have personalized therapy sessions with kind editors. (And chai. I think my manuscript would enjoy a nice cup of chai.) After the summer, my manuscript and I reunite, both feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back to work.

If you know of such a place, please let me know. Maybe our manuscripts could share a room.


Clarissa Draper said...

I've never heard manuscript and spa used in the same sentence before. That's a wonderful example. I'm glad your orchid is doing well and I hope you get two flowers.


Name: Luana Krause said...

I'm loving this! My ms could sure use a spa day.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I gave my No. 1 manuscript several months off while I wrote the first draft of something entirely different. When I went back to No. 1, I loved it again. I think the break is a good thing.


Kerrie said...

Love the idea of a manuscript spa--I know a lot of people who pay big bucks for this service.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I’ve never had any luck growing orchids, but I do love your idea of a manuscript hospital. Maybe some enterprising person will come up with such a place either in the virtual or real world. Hopefully, we won’t need manuscript insurance in order to get in!)

Jenny said...

I'll post a photo if and when the darn orchid ever blooms.

Maybe we could get a group rate on this ms spa thing :-)

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