I love my old-school Imperia pasta machine--a Christmas present from last year. On cold winter days, I get a craving for fresh pasta. Not the dried-out spaghetti that comes in a box. Homemade noodles have a different taste. It takes a little time...wringing the flour-dusted ball of dough through the machine. The best part? Slicing it into ribbons that curl at the edges.
As I swirl my fork around the of dough, it begins to take shape. It's true for pasta and the first draft of a new book. In the beginning, the gluey clumps doesn't look like much. You keep mashing the fork around, trying to find the center of things.
When I crank up the Imperia machine, I'm reminded of all the effort that pours into a revision. Every book finds its own shape. Maybe it takes a few readings to figure it out (and a sharp knife will always do the trick). Cutting out chapters. Writing new scenes. Searching for one perfect word. Finding the themes hidden beneath the surface. That's when you put the book away for a while. Hang the loose strands on a rack. Let the minutes boil away. When it sticks to the wall, it's done.