Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The days tick by. Routines get set. Problems get solved… or they don’t.

As per usual, the writing day started with editing: a return to yesterday’s 4043-word monstrosity, which is still pretty good, and too long with no easy solutions. I did find a way to rework the opening paragraph into more of a grabber, which is good—but  if anything, I came away from this morning’s edit session with the realization that it’s a paragraph short,  that there’s a vital connection that I need to make to the overall theme of the book to keep it from being just a standalone “How about this, isn’t this interesting” sort of thing. So that’s a little time bomb that’ll just sit there ticking for the rest of the week, I suppose; I really should use this end-of-day time to figure that graf about, but I’m too afraid of that essay at this point, to be honest.

The better news is that today’s essay, about the character of Mudbone and the traditional of African-American oral storytelling, is not only fairly solid, but a totally manageable 2725 words. So, hurray for that, at least.

Looking back over this stuff, I realize that the word count obsession may seem a little OCD, or at the very least, disproportionate. But I just see it as a kind of mathematical indication of the material getting away from me, which was always my concern when it came to tackling such an immense subject in a short form.

Anyway. That’s the latest. With the two reworked essays and three new ones down, and three ones to go, I’m officially past the halfway point. The next two essays are ones I feel pretty good about, and think I should be able to keep under control. The last one, which I’m planning on writing Saturday, is a bit of a stickier wicket, particularly since I’ll need to figure out how it’ll answer the book’s Big Questions, which I sort of provocatively pose in the preface but haven’t entirely worked through yet. Guess we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it!

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