Monday, August 31, 2009

Of deadlines missed

I didn't make my self-imposed "by the end of August" deadline for having the sample chapter of the Chicken Ranch book finished. Not even close. I've accomplished maybe a tenth of what's necessary for the completed section, and I'm not all too proud about that.

What went wrong? Other writing commitments, mostly. Interviews and book reviews and the like--all paying gigs, thus not to be ignored--demanded my immediate attention. There were more CR-related interviews and the other book proposal (which isn't all that earth-shaking, but I'm not ready to announce it until I have a contract offer, let it be jinxed) gobbled up a huge amount of my allocated writing time. Finally, I sat down with The Wife and we blocked out large swaths of time over this past weekend where I would do nothing but write. I might not meet the deadline, but I'd come darn close.

Alas, that was not to be. At the old homestead, there are two huge old sycamore trees. These things are relics of my childhood. We had a tree house in one, and the other was the site of great big leaf piles of perfect form and substance for jumping into during chill autumn afternoons. Both of these mighty trees are dead, or in the process of dying. I first noticed a creeping deadness in the branches a couple of years ago, and last year they looked downright sickly. Massive limbs began dropping this past spring, and the concern that one or both would fall onto the house and do real damage--or even drop a big limb on a person--became a very real concern. So Friday a call came from my brother that he'd lined up a cherry-picker rental for the weekend, and could I help with the tree dismantlement.

Duty calls, and all that. I spent the weekend carving enormous dead tree trunks into smaller-but-still-considerable chunks of tree trunk and subsequently hauling them--and many, many assorted branches--to the riverbank at the edge of our property. I haven't been that tired in a very, very long time. I'd drink a quart of water at a time and almost immediately burst out in sweat. I'd work until I dried, then drink some more and the process started again. I still have that deep muscle burn that only comes with lactic acid fermentation. When I finally called it a day, I tried to pick up the Bug only to find that my arms were dead--I literally could not pick up a three-year-old. But the old sycamores were taken care of, as were assorted other branches from red oak, live oak and pecan trees menacing an assortment of power lines. Mission accomplished.

But absolutely no writing was done. For this I am ashamed. I'll try harder this week.

Now Playing: Pink Floyd Obscured By Clouds

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