For the past week-and-a-half, my husband and a friend have torn our guest bathroom apart. Seven years ago, we moved into our home, which we love, but that was outdated. I'm talking 1980's fake brass, formica, linoleum outdated. Is it livable? Absolutely. Are we blessed with this home? Undoubtedly. But we decided to make some changes so it would mirror our style rather than 80's big hair.
So my honey and our friend have ripped out linoleum, thrown out the mauve toilet, and pulled out the "hot-cold" singular bulbous knobs. Electrical, plumbing, and venting were all re-routed because of the creation of a pocket door to give our pre-pubescent daughter her own, in-suite bathroom. Sheetrock, plywood, liquid nail, P-traps, and wiring caps all worked together to create a new, beautiful space. There's still a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that will go into this tiny space. An act of love for our budding girl. (My friend, Amy, just similarly experienced major construction when she created a new room for her daughter, Courtney, and can attest).
But when the process is complete, the result will be seamless. Guests will venture into the bathroom and use it's beautiful new sink. Flush its state-of-the-art toilet. And quietly slide the convenient pocket door that took my husband half a day, and lots of under-the-breath words, to install.
Point is: to create something people enjoy without realizing how long it took and how hard it was to create is art. Your favorite song took a lyricist, a band, a producer, a studio, an agent, and a record company all believing and investing to pump out three-and-a-half minutes that you'll love for a couple of weeks. Your favorite clothing company employs designers, stylists, factory employees, and marketing people to pump out this season's latest jean that you'll wear for a few months. Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and all your other favorite social networks put in years of creativity, begging investors, tweaking ideas, only to have to evolve every few months to keep up with everything new.
Writing and publishing are living, breathing things. A novel can take months or years to write. Days are spent contemplating character names, subplots, settings, words, and things as simple as the placement of a comma. The reader doesn't see this. And shouldn't. True artistry in literature requires the reading of a story where the reader doesn't hiccup over a misspelled word or have to flip backwards because the writer inadvertently created an inconsistency that the reader caught. To be a good writer requires a seamless, flawless flow of words that evoke other worlds, emotions, and vacations from reality that can't be violated by the writer's errors. And all of the behind-the-scenes work. All of the linoleum ripping and paint-tape-excision and sanding must be transparent. Because to reveal the blood, sweat, and tears, and seek validation in the work itself, is to put artist over art. We are storytellers. We love the words. Their beauty. Their ability to move hearts, minds, and mountains. To do them justice, we as writers must become invisible and live in their shadow.