The paragraph required attention. The elements were assembled, choice words, vital to the structure were scattered throughout. Yet it did not work. The phrases refused to align correctly. I attacked the problem. Ten minutes later the paragraph still refused to yield. I did what I normally do when writing becomes difficult, leave the room and tackle a household chore. Make a bed, wipe down the sink, sweep the floor while I approach the problem sideways. Let my brain work indirectly. When I returned, the words had not reformed themselves on the screen nor had the indirect attempt produced a solution. I stared at the monitor. This was the first paragraph of a 5,000 word chapter. It promised to be a difficult assignment I had set for myself.
“The front of the shed held a cluttered assortment of tools, baskets, and boxes. Behind this, toward the back, rough cut boards were stacked neatly…”
What was I doing? I looked up from the book under my nose. Wait-I’m suppose to be working. Here I am reading, caught up in a book while my work goes neglected. My left hand marks the place where I began randomly pages ago. I page ahead, chapter’s almost done. Wait-this is my book, I know what comes next, I know how it ends, I wrote it.
The teacher/mother/adult in me all shake heads. I am in grade school again, evading work with a book. No excuses, I close it regretfully and turn my attention where it belongs. Reading never helped solve the arithmetic problems or finished the spelling unit. The possibilities of the problem paragraph began to clamor. If I fuse these sentences…
Seems to have worked with editing.
“Forgotten, resentful of being neglected, the diner presented a poor welcome for any arriving tourists. The site was neither friendly nor inviting. Last year’s weeds lay plastered in the cracks of the parking lot. The rusted gas pumps cherry red paint was wearily dulled. “Lynne’s Diner.” The sign hung crookedly over the front door. Peeling paint, a molting roof and cracking windows attested more loudly than the “closed” sign of its demise.” (from the novel Sunshine and Shadows currently under construction)
“And sometimes I think about a one-and-a-half-year old child with its baby teeth still coming in, whose days on this earth were so very, very few.” (National Geographic, July 1988, page 53) The author of the article, haunted by that scene as he unearthed the remains of a 4th century town on the Island of..Read More ›
We spent a half week with all nine of the children and the twelve grandchildren. The occasion was our son’s wedding. Tears threatened when the boys, now men, stood as groomsmen for their brother. The struggle of our grandson to stay awake and the relaxed attitude in one of the boy’s suits served to prevent..Read More ›