Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2019 >Daily Dispatch #37

February 6, 2019: The Writing Life: My Own Private Epicenter

In November we had a major earthquake. After, I wrote a dispatch about it; I wanted to shift gears and write something more lengthy, but I was then in the throes of writing a proposal for If You Come to a Fork in the Road Pick it Up. And right after I jumped into working on the proposal for The Gift of a Good Ride.

I now realize that I should have put the proposals aside and focused on writing about the earthquake. Stupid me, stupid me, stupid me. Well, the first proposal is in the hands of Nate Bauer at the University of Alaska Press, and the second one is in the hands of Pete. When he finishes formatting and copy editing it, I will send it on to Centered Riding instructor Susan Harris. After getting an aye from her, I’ll send it on to Rebecca Didier at Trafalgar Press.

Tilted pictures after the earthquake

In the meantime, I’m pretty much caught up with my wilderness first responder homework. I had to write plans and assessments for eight accident scenarios.

So, I decided while I wait to hear from Nate and Rebecca that I’d keep myself occupied with another writing task. I thought the earthquake dispatch was pretty good when I posted it. I started to revise and realized that it’s actually a piece of crap. Oh well. I kept at it. Then I became faced with what seems to me to be an insurmountable problem. Oh Oh. I don’t have a solid main idea, nor do I know where this now supposedly hypothetical main idea should go.

I first had my main idea in the beginning – this was that following a disaster, stories foster a sense of community. And when this community is fostered, those affected not only pull together, but are a source of moral support. This, then, is what has made the Alaskan community so resilient, as was evidenced by the general good humor of everyone who I talked with the quake.

Ours was not THE big earthquake, but it was big enough to send shock waves through the entire community. And near everyone dealt with this calamity with a nonchalance, which is rare in such instances.

Well, I moved this main idea to the end of my essay. The question now is, do I want to move it back to the beginning, or do I want to keep it where it is? If it’s at the beginning, my essay will be deductive in nature. The information that follows will support my claim. If it’s at the end, my essay will be inductive in nature. Readers will then follow the path of my thinking.

If I was teaching a nonfiction writing class, I’d share my current draft with my students. This way, they’d see in writing, the difference between an article, which is deductive, and an essay which is inductive.

No matter what I decide, the information that I do include must fit in with this main idea.

Usually writing ain’t this difficult conceptually. I want to throw my hands up in the air and run out of the room and yell “earthquake.” And, by the way, this morning, as I working on this, there were two more aftershocks. Fact is these days stranger than fiction.

Next: 38. 2/7/19: The Writing Life: Looking in the Mirror

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles