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April 2, 2020: The Writing Life: If You Come to a Fork in the Road, Run for Your Life

This is what I should have entitled my Alaska State Fair/Valley Community for Recycling Solutions history. This way, I would have found it easier to ditch this project. I nearly jettisoned it when I’d finished my first draft. It reared its head up about a month ago, and I said oh well, what the hell, I’ll see if I can finish this.

I had not worked on this book for over a year, maybe close to two. I am not saying it’s good, I’m saying that in returning to it, that I did work hard on it. I did numerous interviews and quite a bit of research.

I’m now closing in on having finished another draft. The bad weather (today we were treated to a rain/snow mix) and the virus outbreak has, at least in terms of this project, been a dogsend. I have nothing pressing to distract me.

I have a list to the left of my standing desk of things I have left to do before I pass this on to Pete. I have to reread and maybe revise the introduction and write up a final coda in which I say what everyone is doing now. This is because I wrote about the 2017 Alaska State Fair and it’s now 2020. For the most part, little has changed. However, my readers are going to need to know this.

Stormy in the agility shed
Stormy in the agility shed

I’m going to need to get back cover blurbs for this book. This won’t be hard. I’m also going to need to get an assist with graphics and photographs. Again, this won’t be hard.

I’ll also take care of small details in the next revision, making sure that I identify everyone by their first and last names, and also include their ages. I think that most of the descriptions are okay.

Oh yeah, the chapter in which I talk about where the non-recyclables go. I’m going to have to interview Butch Shapiro who is in charge of the Mat-Su Landfill.

I am glad that I didn’t allow this book to fall through the cracks. What motivated me to revise it, and will further motivate me to finish it, is the fact that the subject matter is so important. No one else has taken on this project like this one.

I remember when I was working in the sorting area, a local television station did a story. I could tell that the news reporter knew she was on to something. There was a lot of detail for her to work with – this including the very grubby workers, the eclectic setting, and the recyclables themselves. The set up was well organized and the volunteers were articulate. I said to her that I was writing a book and she said “uhh huh.”

I was told that the reporter took an afternoon of footage and condensed it into a two-minute segment. It amazes me that people can and will do this. I knew then, and further know now that there was a bigger story in the making.

Next: 93. 4/3/20: A Conversation with Ranger

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