Friday, April 4, 2014

A Black Chestnut

I have half an hour to write something clever or funny.  Quick, quick, quick.

Will you settle for informational?  I could aim for human interest.  You tell me where it lands.

So I got three horses coming to the farm sometime during the second half of May.  That's six weekends, if you're counting, and I AM.

Nervous?

Hell, yeah.

I have black walnut trees all over the place.  The leaves are totally poisonous to horses.  I saw quite a lot of walnuts (they look like they could re-enter the earth's atmosphere, no problem--they're encased in fireproof capsules) in the front pasture today.  Frankly, I'm not even sure what a black walnut tree looks like.

I know what a willow tree looks like:  It looks like a giant branch has been ripped off in a storm.  But that was no storm.  That was a bit of wind.  Willow trees are weak.  That's why they weep!

The stalls in the barn look fantastic--it will be a crying shame when the horses pee on the wainscoting. But the front sliding door of the barn does not work at all.  And I'm thinking, in case of a fire, or in case maybe I want to go into the barn, we need to fix that.  By "we," of course, I mean Phil.

Kitchen floor is 99.98 percent done.  Needs a little metal thing across the threshold, to keep the tiles from coming up with the opening and closing of the kitchen door.  NEVER PAY BEFORE THE JOB IS 100% DONE.  never.  No exceptions.  Lesson learned.

A correlation to the above rule: If he looks, smells, and acts like an ex-con with anger issues, HE PROBABLY IS.  Or not.  I would be happy to be wrong on this one.  Time will tell.

Still writing the book?  Why, yes.  I had better be--I've said no to paid work.  I know, I know!  Folly and hubris.  Every week now, a new chapter, confounding pressure to write like a real author, no more therapeutic, journaling, creative-writing-class nonsense.

Chapter 17 was a horror.  A real horror.  I rewrote it this week, so I guess that puts me a week behind.  But the revision is better.  God is in the details.  Pick your moment and go in deep--on the right character--the one the book is about.  This probably seems obvious to you.  But I tell ya, take one wrong turn and you can spend a lot of time in some strange little subdivisions.

So yeah, I'm writing.  And I got a map, but it looks a lot like one of those games where's there's all those choices about where to go, all those infernal dead-ends, and only one real exit.  I take some comfort in knowing that I was a little lost.  I'm not too proud to retrace my steps, look for that one last true sentence* the one that I wrote somewhere, many pages ago.

I am writing about someone I know and that is turning out to be a little more bewildering than making my characters up.   I still think I can do it, though; if for no other reason than I'm getting kinda old.

*Footnote:  Hemingway said that.  He said, when you're writing a novel and you've stumbled into writing utter crap, go back to that one true sentence, wherever it is, and begin again from there.
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