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November 27, 2017: So Many Forks, So Little Time

As I write this, the wind is blowing. The roaring sound, combined with the shrieking sound of the wind generator, makes me feel as though I am in an insane asylum. Actually, I am holding up really well on what in late November is the darkest time of the year.

I figured out that getting outside during the day hours and working on a major project during the night keeps my spirits up. So in the day I interact with my Icelandic ponies. And at night I work on When you Come to a Fork in the Road, Pick it Up.

This project started out as a series of dispatches about my working as a supervisor in the Alaska State Fair collection and sorting area. After, I envisioned this also being an eBook about the Fair, attendees, and volunteers. I began interviewing people, one of whom included Butch Shapiro, the Mat-Su Borough Solid Waste Facilities Manager. I wanted to know what he thought about the fact that the Fair-based recyclables are diverted to VCRS. His response, that “every little bit helps,” was a no-brainer.

In interviewing Butch, I came to a writerly fork in the road. Butch was very generous with his time, but I wasn’t sure how specifics about landfill maintenance and procedures fit in with my project. In essence, I’d come to a writerly fork in the road. I knew from past experience that writing and problem solving go hand-in-hand, so I set this project aside. The answer to the question, how to proceed, materialized on a hike. It was then that I had an ahh haa moment.

I’d continue this project by writing about what becomes of the Alaska State Fair recyclables and non-recyclables. For instance, I’d again interview Butch and find out what becomes of the Fair non-recyclables. And I’d talk with VCRS staff and find out what becomes (for example) of the Fair recyclables, some of which include #2 Plastic, aluminum cans, and corrugated cardboard.

This past weekend I had two more ahh haa moments. The first was that the recyclables and non-recyclables are taken to sites where they are processed after they leave the State Fairgrounds. The second was that the paths of the various items then diverge. In essence, the materials come to forks in the road.

I next smoothed out a sheet of crumpled office paper and sketched a chapter outline. Once done, I realized that I had a book outline. The beauty of this framework is that I’m presenting my information in an audience-friendly format. My readers, who to a large part are Fair goers, find out what becomes of non-recyclables and recyclables. As importantly, they’ll think twice before putting that uneaten turkey leg in a green recycling bin.

In part, the glue holding this book together is my ongoing account of my writerly forks in the road. I, who in beginning this project knew little about the ins and outs of recycling, am going to show readers the path of my thinking.

Next: 329. 11/28/17: Releasing Parking Brakes

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