Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Another column done

We came home late Saturday night, the day my not-yet-begun column was due.

My policy is not to work on Sundays, so it didn’t get begun then either. We have no policy against wonderful Sunday dinners, however, so we enjoyed one at Aunt Susie’s, where I told another guest, Ellen, that every month at this stage I threaten to quit writing for the newspaper. She acted horrified which was very sweet of her, and her brother Stan said something like Oh well, but it’s easy for you to write, which was not very sweet of him but I am trying to forgive him.

So the article was begun on Monday while Emily voluntarily(!) washed seven loads of laundry. By Monday evening when we went to the Smucker Christmas supper I had three pages of rough notes and about three workable paragraphs.

Tuesday morning I again faced the computer as soon as the children left for school, and I finally began to figure out what I was actually trying to say, so the words slowly clicked into place and by noon I finished and sent it off and was finally able to attack the house and unpacking.

It’s incomprehensible to me that anyone could think writing is easy. The process is as tedious as picking little burrs out of socks, harder work than cleaning the oven.

I’m not sure why I keep doing it except that I know it’s what I’m supposed to do and if I quit, the Holy Spirit would make me miserable until I started writing again. (Been there, done that.) Also, the joy of seeing my work in print and of finding out that I actually connect with people keeps me going.

I think it’s the fact that I have to do it, and by a certain date, and up to a certain standard that makes it hard. Blogging, in contrast, is easy.

On a different note—I just read the latest World magazine and noticed on the Crossings Book Club insert that Dorcas Hoover’s House Calls and Hitching Posts is now available there, right along Joyce Meyer’s and Beverly Lewis’s books. It’s a safe guess that this accomplishment compensates for a lot of the long hours (actually years) that went into that book. Congratulations, Dorcas.

Quote of the Day:
"Mom, I have the coolest tape measure in the history of tape measures."
--Ben, admiring his new tape measure from KB and discovering that it has a little flashlight attached

8 comments:

  1. we had a discussion on what all goes into writing a book yesterday...so your post was most informative,sorry ,my thinking needed some help,i imagined as good as you are with words that its just a natural gift,but i see you have some work involved!! keep up the great work!

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  2. Has it (Letters from Harrisburg) been published yet? If it has, could you provide the link? The Eugene Register-Guard needs a new webmaster! Their design is horrible!

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  3. Kris--thanks for the encouragement.
    Hans--I write my column and have it in by (ideally) the last day of the month, then my editor decides when it will appear in the following month. So I just sent in January's column (due Dec. 31) and it will most likely be published on the 8th of january.
    You can send your web suggestions (or any other comments) to mjohnson@guardnet.com , the features editor.

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  4. You express exactly what I felt when writing a column for the Kalona News - I often thought that writing had comparisons to childbirth - I often dreaded the delivery of ideas conceived, but after all the hard work, I was euphoric with the finished product. My deadline was first of all weekly, then bi-weekly, then I buckled under the pressure of the deadline, along with a full time job, and quit. Blogging is indeed fun because of the lack of pressure, but I applaud you for following your calling and for doing a superb job!

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  5. Some would say that the more difficult it is for one to write, the easier it is for the reader to devour. Perhaps that is not always the case and writing does come easier for some than others. To some, writing is a chore, to others a pleasure... to all of us a chance for personal therapy and use of poetic license. ; )

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  6. Oh, Dorcas...I resonate! What little writing I've done for TNF is SO {...what's the word...}. In the early years my editor would chop and slice. Talk about rejection! ooooheeee! Now when it happens I'm so thankful.
    It ain't easy! If anyone wants to chop/slice here, liberty is yours.

    I, for one, hope you never stop writing.

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  7. Dorcas, please thank Emily for doing laundry and all the other jobs she "voluntarily" does so that you have time to write. And please!!!!!!!!!Don't stop!!!!!!!!!I also am guilty of assuming that you just love to sit down at the computer and write and everything just comes out sounding just right. It's encouraging to hear otherwise. I'll remember that when I write and rewrite and rewrite next year's Christmas letter! Pauline

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  8. I hear that your book is being widely circulated amongst my relatives and our home town. Congratulations on the book. I spoke with your parents last Saturday, when I was "home" for the funeral. I told them I accidentally ran into your blog. My friend blorge.com has a link to MennoChinese and he to KingdomSeek and he to Bryan Smucker and by then I could could almost smell the Smuckers I knew.
    I too have a blog but I tend toward philosophy and a non-mennonite audience.

    http://modern-parables.blogspot.com/

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