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April 3, 2015: The Writing Life: Material Matters

Material Matters – this is the name of the book that I’m proposing to write. The title has a twofold meaning. It’s about the materials that matter, i.e., pen and paper, pitchfork and rake, and it’s about important subjects, in this case my writerly composing process and compost.

I axed this title in revising my proposal for the University of Alaska Press. However, I decided that I really liked it, so it’s going on the proposal that I’m sending on to Boynton Cook.

I didn’t think that this revision would take so long. I figured I’d get this done in just a few days. I was wrong. I’ve now been working on this for three weeks; this is how long it’s taken me to come up with a cohesive draft. I’m close to done but not done yet. I’m really tired of this thing – recall that I began working on the first draft of two years ago.

Today I got to thinking – what if Boynton Cook decides not to accept my proposal? I mean, what if they think that it’s a piece of shit. Well, I’ll just have to revise it again and then send it out again. This is what I might do for the rest of my life – revise things

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and send them out, revise things and send them out, revise things and send them out. It’s analogous to being on a swing in a playground. You push your arms back, stick your legs out, and aim for the stratosphere. You then fall back and do the same, again. Some people launch themselves off swings, out into the air. But I’m not the sort to do this. I guess I’m not a risk taker.

The revised proposal is now looking pretty good. I decided not to include sample chapters with it. This is an instance in which less might be better. I had revised and attached chapters four and five, but they weren’t academic enough for Boynton Cook. I envisioned Chuck Schuster, my former dissertation committee member, reading these chapters and then telling Acquisition Editor Thomas Newkirk that I’ve never been a big one for citing other scholars – and therefore this appears as though it will be too personal and not academic enough for Boynton Cook. So my annotated table of contents will have to suffice.

I think that I’ll wait until I return from California before sending out this proposal. My looking at it fresh, one more time, is a good idea. After it’s out, I’ll resume work on If Wishes were Horses proposal and book and get the proposal out. As I well know, by my return it will be spring. Today we got the garden starts going. This was a reminder to me that I’m soon going to have more to do around the place, which means that I’ll have less time to write. I don’t know yet if I’m going to be as judicious about weeding. We’ll just have to see.

Next: 87. 4/4/15: A Conversation with Rainbow, Dog Extrordinare

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