Digging in the Dirt


Week 13

I dug down into the dirt and weeded the daylights out of my garden this week. I found most of the squash plants Julie and I put in last May have rotted away from all the rain. Then I replanted for a possibly late harvest. The soil is not ideal here, but I keep trying.

Pretty much the way I have to keep trying with the writing projects at hand. Sometimes I have to replant. Sometimes, I just have to tear up the miscues and story parts that didn’t survive. And then replant. I have to keep trying.

This blog serves a good example. Here I spent 20 minutes blathering on about teaching writing and developing a pretty pedantic extended metaphor for people who have to have it all outlined for them and cannot tolerate variations or anything that does not fit “The Plan”. It read quite nicely and I might, in my classroom teacher days, have graded it kindly. However, looking at it from the standpoint of this blog and my own work, my reaction is more along this line:

“Why, you arrogant ass!”

Yes, I taught English/Language Arts. I taught the five- and seven-paragraph essay format, the parts of a short story, the elements of fiction, the whole labeling morass we’ve imposed on literature and writing in hopes of understanding each other. I suppose it helps. Knowing whether an author or presenter is trying to entertain you or persuade your or just plain B.S. you is helpful. Especially these days with so many voices “telling it like it is” when what they’re really telling us who they are who they think we should be. But storytelling, the real storytelling, under this kind of analytical microscope suffers.

Beginning and end are helpful milestones. A sense of character and setting is useful, but oh! The glorious wandering that could be done in between. I confess it: that’s the way I write. My joy is in the tangled in-between. Part of my writing credo, then (and you are welcome to disagree): Too much structure is like too much rain – it can rot a good part of the story and then we have to replant.


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