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December 12, 2013: Pete

It might seem like these dispatches are all my own doing. I feel bad about having created this misconception, for they are also Pete’s doing. Yes, they’re a collaborative effort, in both form and content.

I write the copy. And I take some, but not all the photos. I also draw the cartoons. This is the work that I’m best cut out to do. I enjoy the rather messy and often revelatory business of telling stories. Once I’ve gotten something on paper, be it a dispatch, essay, poem, or book chapter, I move on. I don’t have a strong interest in doing what Pete does, which is making content presentable to a larger audience.

I send Pete the dispatches. He reads them, asks questions, and makes changes if need be. He’s never, ever objected to posting anything that I’ve written in its entirety. I do recall writing a dispatch, last April, about how car

batteries work. I asked him to edit it. He did this. After, it was fun to look at his editorial changes. (I should have titled that dispatch “Grrrrrrrrl Know Nothing about Car Batteries.”

Pete also goes into the archive that he set up, and selects individual photos for inclusion in that day’s dispatch. If he feels so inclined, he first makes changes in Photoshop. And somehow, like magic, it all comes together. This has to be a labor of love, because our readership is currently (at the very most) a dozen people.

The high point of my week is going to my website and looking at the posted dispatches and photos/cartoons. This is very much like seeing one’s work in print. I remember the first time I had an article published. It was for a newspaper in Dover, New Hampshire. I’d written it for a journalism class, and one the paper’s very kindly editors decided to run it. There it was, in a more readerly form, familiar and yet different.

Pete and I fell behind in posting dispatches in August and September because we were then travelling. It subsequently took us two months to get caught up. It didn’t help that after our trip I began working on backlogged dispatches, starting from the most recent and working my way backwards. For this reason, Pete had to wait a while before beginning his dispatch-related work.

It’s always been difficult to find the time to write. And lately, it’s become even more difficult. This is because I also have animals to tend to. And the same holds true for Pete, who being a more practical sort, is even more busy than I am. And he has a lot of his own projects to work on, the big one being the chainsaw book. He (lately) has set aside much of his own work in order to assist me. I’ve erred in taking advantage of his selflessness.

Pete spent the past three days making sourdough French bread. I cannot provide specific details as to the process because I didn’t pay close attention. One minute he was mixing ingredients, and the next he was kneading bred. Then the next he was wrapping bread in Saran Wrap. Then the next he was spritzing the bread in the oven. This, I did think, is a man who would do well raising guppies, meaning their tank would always be clean.

The bread was quite good. I felt terrible eating it because it seemed to me that something that took this long to make wasn’t bread. Rather, it was art. You don’t eat art. Rather, you preserve it. You can’t preserve bread that doesn’t have preservatives.

Today Pete’s going riding with me. Then he’s going to saw up the firewood behind the goat pen. (We are woefully short on firewood this year.) Then we’ll head to town and do errands. He will then drop me off at the dog training facility. A busy day ahead for a very selfless man.

Next: 255: 12/6/13: Dog Training, Class #