The problem is that I have become terrified of paper. The book is at the stage (and I have only recently learned that there is such a stage) where I am working on paper. Well actually we are working on paper. The package arrived at our house 12 hours after I did. The package--542 pages of a copy edited manuscript and a green pencil. This was it. This was the manuscript. Not a copy of something that exists on the computer. This is now the manuscript--the only manuscript.
Pressure. Things had to change. No more losing pages, spilling coffee at will, letting cats wander over the prologue and dogs sleep on chapter four--that all had to end immediately.
The lovely publishers sent the edited manuscript (edited in red and blue pencil--much friendlier than red and blue ink) and I am to edit in a green pencil (that they enclosed in the package) and then send it back. I have been instructed to hold onto the green pencil as I will need it to edit proof pages later--I have become slightly obsessive about the green pencil and have forbidden anyone to touch it.
I am basically terrified and keep pulling out the pages only to put them away. Animals, liquid, fire, snow, food or excessive numbers of people send me into paroxysms of fear over the pages and the pencil. Three cats and a fire--put away the pages. Two dogs and my brother drinking tea--put away the pages. Tuna eating toast--put away the pages. Wet snow boots in the next room--put away the pages. I was getting ridiculous. And so after only progressing four pages today I have made an executive decision. The pages will get wrinkled, fuzzy, furry and probably wet. That is the collateral damage of living with family, animals, food and snow.