Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2017 >Daily Dispatch #314

November 14, 2017: The Writing Life: Keeping Busy

A few weeks ago I was talking with Carole Henry, who works at VCRS, the local recycling center. We were talking about my project, entitled, “If you Come to a Fork in the Road, Pick it Up.” She said something I have often thought, which is that writing does not do itself. You have to do it.

This is so true. There has been many times in which I have wished that a project or a portion of a project would just do itself. Or further, that my thoughts, with little effort, just materialize on paper. Never happens.

I reached an impasse in working on the chapter, now called “Garbage In, Garbage Out: An Interview with Butch Shapiro, Solid Waste Manager of the Mat Su Borough.” I got stymied when I interviewed him – landfill stuff is both

The Borough's Crevasse-Moraine trail system is on landfill land

technical and all-encompassing. I enjoyed talking with him, and I was (and still am) interested in the subject matter. However, this is a complex subject that proved to be quite difficult to write about.

I pecked at this chapter the way a chicken might peck at food, maybe a little less purposely. I wanted to give up on this project because I could not figure out how to organize the multitude of puzzle pieces. I was motivated by the prospect of this being a book.

I struggled for a long time with a question that went nowhere. This was, did diverting the recyclable material to VCRS make a difference in terms of the local landfill capacity? Butch’s answer was “every little bit (of diversion) helps.” Well, this was a no-brainer. Of course, materials that go elsewhere reduce landfill fill.

I was walking my horse Tyra on the upper trails the day before yesterday. It then occurred to me that the question that I should instead be asking is what becomes of the waste material at the fair that is not recycled? I have now partially answered this question by providing a description of the landfill, and an overview of local policies and procedures.

And I might include even more information that’s related to this question. I can’t do a half-assed job when I set out to write something. It has to be as good as it can be. That my standards are so high is beyond my comprehension.

Well the question, that is, what becomes of the Fair generated non-recyclable material has now opened a Pandora’s box of sorts in that it has raised other, important and related questions. These are, what becomes of the recyclable goods when they leave the Fairgrounds? All I know about this is that the material goes to VCRS and is baled then it goes elsewhere.

So there is a parallel here. The non-recyclables go to the landfill. The recyclables go to VCRS. And from there? It would be most fitting to find this out. I should talk with those who process this material at VCRS. Then I should see what becomes of this material. Pete says it goes to the Port of Anchorage, then elsewhere. Where is elsewhere? What is done with this stuff?

This more broad-based overview will work just fine in relation to what I already have on hand, which is in part my perceptions as an Alaska State Fair volunteer manager. It is evident in what I wrote that I knew next to nothing. In this respect, I am like many of my readers. I am going to show them the path of my thinking, and in the process we’ll all become more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of recycling.

There is a part of me that wishes that I had cooled my jets and just rewritten my dispatches. But then there is a part of me that would not allow for this. There but for the grace of garbage go I.

Next; 315. 11/15/17: Bits and Pieces

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles