Sunday, March 8, 2009


Yesterday morning, as soon as I rose and completed my new litany of exercises (six straight days now), I began a morning walk. My destination: the post office, to mail some bill payments. The post office is about 7/10 ths of a mile away, over fairly level road. However, I wanted a longer walk that that.

So I walked down every side street off Sherlock Road. By way of explanation, Bella Vista is all hills, ridges, and steep valleys--hollows, the locals call them. Collector streets are built on ridge lines, and local streets are cul-de-sacs off the main roads, following finger ridges till they plunge into the hollows.

On the way to the post office, walking on the left side, of course, that meant I had to walk down four side streets. Of course, that meant I had to walk up to get back to the main road. Coming back from the post office, I had three side streets to descend and ascend. The whole walk took sixty-five minutes, and I was plenty tired.

As I made all these side trips, I was struck by the clarity of the woods. By this time in winter, the pin oaks are finally dropping their leaves. A few stubbornly cling, mostly to lower branches, but most are gone. The early budding trees--the Bradford pears, forsythia, red buds, and dogwoods--have not yet popped. Some might by next week, but not now. So this weekend is probably the one with the greatest clarity through the winter woods. Houses across the hollows, unseen most of the year, are obvious. We can see our distant neighbors' backyard business.

I continue to look for this clarity in my writing career. Book? Articles? Fiction? Non-fiction? Op-ed? Bible studies? All of these I have tried, and I can see myself writing them all. The writing sages say build a platform first. If you have a platform, editors can't hardly turn you down when submitting book-length queries. I've got platform building ideas, but keep hesitating to trigger them for fear they will sap all the creative time and energy I have.

Yet trigger them I must, if I expect to have any hope of publishing books with traditional, royalty paying publishers. In two future posts (perhaps not consecutive to this one), I'll explain a couple of platform-building ideas I have, one old, one new, and use the blog as a sounding board for them.

ETA: I wrote the draft of this post Saturday night, intending to publish it Sunday afternoon. When I awoke this morning, deprived of an hour of sleep, I saw our huge Bradford pear in the backyard is now white. Overnight the buds popped. Our native woods don't have many volunteer Bradford pears, but it does look as if I'm correct: this weekend should allow maximum clarity.

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