The walls are up and painted. The tiles are down and grouted. The appliances are in and plugged. The furniture is bought and on its way. August 1, 2016, we move back in to the little shack we call Sawmyl Synders and pickup, more or less, where we left off. I say less because we have less animals than we did before the flood on the farm – a lot less. I say more because we have more weeds, more broken equipment, and more doubt about the future on this farm than before the creek became a river and carried part of my life downstream. Yes, mud had smothered my possessions and with it a great deal of my hope. However, I was forced to pull many things from the muddy path of Mother Nature’s wrath, and the mementos which I lifted and kept and dried are the priceless objects will kindle new hope. I don’t remember my life as being in any way remarkable but these souvenirs and awards and digests and diaries do remind me that I had a life that went from hopeless to hopeful to happy. I say I’m unhappy now. I can tell you that I was happier before the flood, bringing so many revelations in its wake. About the people in my life. About the strangers outside my life. About the incomplete person I have become. Living life between the two. How will I spend my remaining time while waiting for the great snake of a creek – just beyond my back door – to rise fifteen feet and once again lap away at my life?
I have sketch books, scrap books, and conspiracy books. I have musings on paper, collections in journals, and opinions on my blog. These transcribed brainwaves are of varying degrees of incompleteness and incompetence. I plan on gathering them, separating them, and transforming them into the very best of expression in writing that I am capable. Yes, I know this task is impossible for me now. No, I do not think that the word ‘best’ applies to how others may assess my craft. Maybe, the result will be a ‘better’ me that faces this challenging and frustrating world. Perhaps, some ‘good’ will come of it, what good I have no idea. But if I remain who I am – a too timid person relating to others in a too intense way in a much too complex world – I must pursue this calling that is both beyond my capacity and within my comprehension. What instruments will I need to add to my skimpy ill-fitting author’s tool-belt in order to follow my dream and lead me to intangible but everlasting mementos?
The Eye that detects the important things in a manuscript is the Eye I’m looking for. Yes, everyone has a story they think should be written. Only a very few people have the ability to make that story interesting. Many factors go into making a good story interesting, coherent, and memorable. Certainly grammar and tense and punctuation are necessary but they are neither the end all or a perfected tool in a writer’s repertoire. It takes a village to help one start to write well. It takes a large part of a lifetime to learn to write well. It takes courage to keep writing. The obstacles to being an author are like others in any profession but the profession of an author is an obstacle to being like others.