A Place to Call Home

Okay, so the intent of this blog is to serve as a sort of cubbyhole for my writing.  I’ll toss out sketches of characters, place, and plot and let them ruminate in the dust laden corners of my home.  I have a book… or an idea.  I have a 50,001 word document… a result of the NaNoWriMo contest a few years back.  I have countless pages of names, maps, places, ideas, goals, that have come to little or nothing.


"The Most Beloved American Writer"

Maybe I’ll have an attic writing spot someday.

Now, though, I have a first page.  A first page that has been read aloud to a few with some pretty solid results.  Is the story complete?  Not even slightly.  I rewrote the first page 3 times before feeling remotely pleased with it.  I had to change the tone and the main character.  Within three pages!

Earlier this year I met one of my writing heroes: Gary Schmidt.  He wrote the astounding Okay for Now and is all around a great guy.  I asked him how he writes and if he blazes through the story and returns to do edits and rewrites (the motto of NaNoWriMo).  He rightly answered that it doesn’t matter except to you, the writer.  He told me about Ernest Hemingway who wrote 500 words a day, no more, no less.  He’d stop mid sentence if he hit 500 words.  Some of us need focused discipline to force our hand.  In this case, I need a bit of that and a lot of belief that I am a writer.  Maybe a bit of pandering.

Schmidt also talked about how it was relatively easy to get unstuck when finding yourself in a bind.  Usually it means that you’ve deviated from the interesting character you created.  Are you bored writing?  Maybe it’s because your main character is coming off as boring.  Maybe it’s as simple as the story forgetting who the main character was from the beginning and heaven forbid that you hit page 300 and find out that the main character is kind of  a wuss and could never fight off the mongrel hordes.

All that being said, I return to paragraph one.  This blog is about attempts.  Attempts to nail down what may only be in the ether right now.  Like the drawing I laid out before my friend Casey this last week or the dream I told my wife Talia, someday I want to own land.  And not just any land, I know what it looks like.  Five acres (the actual number here is debatable, five or more it should read) in front of the house of hay.  Maybe for the neighbors, maybe to hold a horse for my daughters.  A driveway down the side from a not-so-busy country road.  After the hay a grassy lawn with huge trees; older than my grandpa’s hands.  An old farmhouse or converted barn or converted church or what-have-you, painted red with white trim.  A small deck out back overlooking a sloping lawn going down toward the creek that separates the lawn from the woods.  A garden plot next to the house.  The woods out back trail off for another five or more acres.

I don’t know if it is in Washington State.

I don’t know if it exists.

But I plan on finding it someday.

Like the story I have planned out, things will change.  The sloped lawn running down to the creek will turn into a gravel parking lot for the many parties we will host.  The forest out back will turn to hay and the hay out front will turn to forest.  The house will go from converted barn to single story rambler to mobile home and back again.  The garden will overgrow with borage and then turn out a glorious crop.  This is all imagination right now.  Reality will soon settle in and stake its claim, but it is time.

So let literary gravity take hold of my story and ground it here.  But at least let me practice first.


One thought on “A Place to Call Home

  1. Barb & Randy says:

    I think you are amazing! I loved it so much! I’m looking forward to having a book signing party one day and on my copy it will say something like….
    “To Aunt Barb, remember when I was just a little guy? Now I’m famous and rich, have 6 children and live on 5 acres close to the Old Guide Rd. in Belllingham. Can you and Uncle Randy come for dinner next week? Love you, Jake”

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