Thursday, July 29, 2010

Patching Holes

I blame a hole in the asphalt for the song that's been tormenting me.

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

Remember that old song? As kids we loved the Burl Ives version. Later a Sesame Street rendition came along. But the tune actually originated in Germany in the 1700s.

No matter. The hole in the side of the road that I've been watching grow bigger on each of my walks recently--a hole that without attention will become a major tire-swallower--triggered the memory. And I can't get it out of my mind.

Well, fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry. Well, fix it, dear Henry. Dear Henry, fix it.

With every one of Liza's suggestions, Henry counters:

With what shall I fix it? he asks...With a straw, she answers.
But the straw is too long...Then cut it.
With what shall I cut it?...With a knife.
The knife is too dull...Then sharpen it.
With what shall I sharpen it?...With a stone.
But the stone is too dry...Then wet it.
With what shall I wet it?...With water.
In what shall I carry it?...In a bucket, dear Henry.
But there's...

Can't you just picture Liza tearing her hair out about this time?

I hope I'm not so contrary when it comes to fixing the holes in my manuscript. If someone says my characters are like straw, my plot needs a trim, my description falls as flat as a stone, my dialogue needs honed, or my whole story leaks, I'm going to have to do a lot of patching in order for it to hold good stuff!

Do you have any leaks in your writing bucket? How do you propose to patch them?


  1. I love this song! It was like my favorite as kids. I tend to be that contrary with most things in life... (I know, I annoy people with it) but not when it comes to my writing. For some reason with writing I open up and actually take these suggestions to heart in ways I don't do with, well, everything else.

  2. Ha ha ha I don't know the song.........
    BUT there is a hole on the bottom of the pool at our condos, and your description of the hole in the road made me think of that!!
    I *totally* agree with the comment that Melissa made! I feel the same way. I'm contrary about everything day-to-day (have you noticed?!) but in my writing my purest self seems to come out somehow...the good and the bad. Food for thought.

  3. oops, condo *singular* I should edit my comments before leaving them!

  4. I love this song too! There are many holes right now, I know it, even though I can't see all of them. I just hope when the time comes, I can fix them.

  5. I did some major patching last week-- I read and rewrote and read and rewrote at least three times until I pray I got it right! but it is worth it!

  6. Right now my MS is more of a sive (sp?)! I need to focus in on edits and really patch those babies up!

  7. Description is definitely my leak. I have an editing round where I focus on just that.

  8. Thanks to all for your comments--I so enjoy the dialogue and learning where your buckets leak, or not :-)