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September 24, 2018: The Writing Life: The Commute

This morning, as I was heading upstairs in the direction of my work area, I was overcome with a sense of dread. This is a feeling that I often experience, usually as I am approaching my computer. This feeling supplants the one I have been feeling, which is the sense of satisfaction that follows on the heels of having gotten further along on a project. This sense of satisfaction increases exponentially after I’ve done some major problem solving.

It does not matter if the task before me is large or small; the feeling is the same each time. However, I would not even approach the computer if I didn’t have a writerly plan in mind. The feeling is more acute when I am returning to a project after a lengthy hiatus and therefore only have a vague plan in mind.

I suspect that those writers who are substance abusers (caffeine included) are this way because they must find an external way of summoning the necessary energy needed in order to put their proposed plan into action. I have (as of late) taken the opposite approach. I’ve been going with the barely perceptible energy surge that occurs when I eat a good breakfast. (I’ll bet my sister, in reading this, is rolling her eyes because my talk about eating well reeks of self-indulgence).

Alys and the Pumpkin Man
Alys and the Pumpkin Man

“Writing is hard.” This is what a fellow who recently did a reading at the Sutton Library said. His statement increased my already high estimation of writers who get their good work into print.

And so as I climbed the stairs, I pulled forth what was in my subconscious to the forefront of my conscious. Last night, before going to bed, I scrawled some notes on the backside of a page of a Forks draft. These two barely legible paragraphs contained descriptions of two individuals who I previously interviewed. I’ve been paying close attention to descriptions of interviewees in New Yorker articles. Some are absolutely brilliant. What I realized is that I too must include descriptions and ages of my subjects so that readers are better able to picture them.

I knew that my having penned some notes last night would make this easier.

I also planned on working further on the dispatch/chapter on working at the sorting table. This was important because the Alaska State Fair Recycling sorting table is a gathering place, one where recycling education should take place. In addition, I had to find a way of making a thematic connection between the dispatch and the “Better Together” section that will include my interview with Bonnie Dinkel.

And if there was time after, I’d move on and rewrite the dispatch about the Recycling Center education booth and my Better Together interview with Elaine Albertson.

Once I got going and saw that my descriptions of VCRS Volunteer Coordinator and Alaska State Fair Entertainment Director Carole Henry were better than acceptable, it was smooth sailing. I was by then in the zone, and so the subsequent revision, on the dispatch/chapter on the sorting table went well.

I struggled some in making the thematic connection between the sorting table discussion and the Bonnie Dinkel interview. What I wrote will be acceptable, and hopefully, in the minds of others, even more so. It is tenuous.

I am going to wait on writing up my interview with her until after I’ve revised all the dispatch/chapters and “Better Together” sections. My sense is that which I perceive to be difficult, writing up this interview, will easier once I finish this portion of my text. I also foresee that the revisions of the next few chapters are going to be quite easy. I’m also now letting my subconscious work on the introduction and Part III, entitled Postscript. This is going to be about the path of the recyclables. I had originally intended for this section to be quite long, but have since decided to condense it.

Now that I am done for the day, I again feel a sense of satisfaction. Downstairs I go, to see how Pete is coming along on his chainsaw book, a writing project that he’s been working on now for a couple of years. What he feels before, during, and after he writes – this is a story that he best tell.

Next: 267. 9/25/18: News from the Far North

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