I passed a milestone today. I’ve written 50% of the first draft for the Highway 89 book. Even better, of the part I’ve written, three chapter are edited and pretty much done.
When I worked at the UofU, I went to a media training session with Ken Verdoia. That was at least ten years ago, and I often think of his main message: “know what you want to say, say it, stop.” There’s so much I could say about the advent of middle-class tourism, the mystique of the road trip, the reinvention of the west. But I can’t say it all at once, and it won’t all fit into the book I envision. I do know what I want to say. It’s not a blank slate, so far (fingers crossed, etc.).
I did get some more tools for the second half. I bought the most expensive thesaurus at the big box bookstore, one with a hard cover. I gave up on the on-line versions. Visual Thesaurus is kind of entertaining, just not while I’m writing. I used up my favorite spiral bound pad (top binding only, please), so I got another. I have tons of pens (Uniball Vision fine black. If I could get the purple ones by the box, I’d use them instead). Even though I am loving the Mac authoring software, Scrivener, I output the first draft by long-hand. Writing with pen, paper and my 3×5 index cards narrows my focus to the question: “what do I want to say?” Then I write down the answer.
R calls this kitten the Great Blank Slate. He won’t be working at the Genius Bar, that’s for sure. Like Randy Pausch, Slate thinks he should be having fun. With my 3×5 cards, books, hair. Slate hasn’t tried the keyboard yet (Mango loves helping R with his MacAir), but that’s because he’s too busy galloping around the house. Slate is easy-going, and he’s only fallen off the sofa once.
They won’t be kittens for long. If I can keep them from disconnecting the wireless and chewing up my notes, I might just finish this book before Mango is a grown-up, serious cat. Slate, on the other hand, lives in his own version of Wonderland–he’s trying hard not to grow up at all.