more about buildings and words

"I keep cutting it and it's still too short," says Railroad Man. He was talking about the molding I was putting in, but he could as well have been speaking about a story. That is, the writer always wants it longer, the editor always wants it shorter, and so it winds up way shorter than the craftsperson would like.
There's a moment when you're almost done with a story or a building project, just before everything comes together, when the whole thing looks like a mess. You have to fit this piece here, find a spot for that one, do a more graceful turn, apply a little polish, and then, suddenly, it's done, the veneer so perfect that the bits and pieces scattered around so shortly before become one.
In other words, I finished the bead board, down to the last coat of paint, and it looks, to me at any rate, swell.

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