Healthy Gums

I've been a whirling dervish of activity in the past few weeks -- publicizing this, starting that, finishing the other (or "finishing," more accurately, because it might come back rejected), sending things out, receiving things, considering future things, scheduling things (and laughing ha ha ha because you have to laugh when you schedule), and generally verbing all over the place.

Today, I am experiencing a slight lull, during which I need to switch gears. I will walk in a moment, because that is the ultimate gear-switching activity for me. But another activity that I enjoy is thoroughly flossing and brushing my teeth and gums.

I didn't always feel this way about oral hygiene, as the shining cavities inside my mouth show. But ever since my hygienist suggested a gum brush, and I discovered the pleasure of sending it on a leisurely trip around, between, and among my teeth, I've been hooked.

This has nothing to do with the fact that I have a dental check-up scheduled for my birthday next month. (No, not on purpose: Because it was convenient for them, that's why.) I sincerely enjoy a minty-fresh mouth -- what daunting task isn't better faced with clean teeth? -- and taking time to do the flossing and brushing thoroughly makes a noticeable difference in the final results.

Which is also true of writing. I sent out something yesterday after a major revision. It has changed drastically since I first wrote the very beginnings of it, and I don't want to look up how long ago that was. Years. The story gets better with every revision, and each revision requires time. More time than I want to give it. Real time apart, when I am consumed by other writing and experiences. Time for a thorough, cold read; time for contemplation and rumination; and time for the open and careful revisions that show true (if tough) love. When I sent it out yesterday, I felt proud -- and I will still feel proud if it comes back to me with a "no, thanks."

Sure, I clean my teeth every day, just as I write something nearly every day. But some days, you know? It's a little different. There's the pure joy when you do something really well, with careful attention, and you know you have done it well.

It's well worth the time.