A Week in the Writing Life, 11 March 2023

We’re back again for another edition of A Week in the Writing Life. Let’s get started.

Home Front Stuff

I happen to be by myself for the past day or so while my wife in on a business trip out of town. I have to admit that although I can manage all right by myself, it’s always difficult to not have her to talk with, commiserate and converse with. She absolutely keeps things together for us as far as organizing and planning, and I definitely consider myself a “Type 2” personality as compared to her “Type 1.”

We do have one pet who will keep me company – Winston, AKA Winnie, our Shih Tzu dog of well over a decade. We inherited the good boy from a friend in Muscatine when he was three years old, and he has been with us ever since. He soon hung out with his “brother” and fellow Shih Tzu Snickers and our elder kitty girl that came from a friendly landfill, Samantha. 

Both Samantha, the Cujo Kitty in her fiercer days, and Snickers have since passed on across the rainbow bridge. Samantha followed us from Clinton, Iowa, to Muscatine, Iowa, and now rests there. Snickers followed us from Muscatine to Chariton and now rests there. Only Winny remains, going strong for an older boy but moving at a slower pace.

The boy himself.

It has been a rewarding experience having him and his other companions. I was past 25 years old before I had a pet cat or dog in my home. Somehow I never got along with them as a boy, but they’ve been great furry friends to have around. Laura and I have decided that we won’t be getting a new dog whenever Winnie passes on because we want more freedom to travel and do things now without having to worry about his care. However, we’ll miss him very much whenever his time comes. He has always been a great chill bud and I’m glad he’s been a part of my life.

What I’ve Been Writing

I’m hoping to finish up my read through of The Yank Striker by the end of this weekend. If it carries over a few days, it won’t be a disaster, but I do want to try and wrap things up. Again, though, sometimes I’m allergic to deadlines.

I talked a little bit about exactly how I’ve been revising the manuscript, but I’m thinking now that it might be worth discussing what that process looks like. Some people might find this difficult to do, or figure out how to pass along revisions to editors and so forth. I think that is something that I will explore in a later essay.

As I’ve said time and time again, as soon as I have a publication date, you will be the first to know and take part in the celebrations, which will likely involve a contest or two. Watch this space.

The Iron Pen

Unfortunately, I will not be in Davenport this weekend, as I was not one of the lucky winners of the 2023 Iron Pen Competition sponsored by the Midwest Writing Center. However, I very much enjoyed the challenge and experience of the Iron Pen, and I absolutely would want to try it again next year. Considering there was about 120 participants in this year’s event, I don’t have hard feelings about not making it to the top. Apparently there were a lot of quality entries.

What I’ve Been Doing Having to do With Writing

This section will be pretty short, as the main stuff I’ve been dealing with will be a big announcement in an hour. Trust me, though, it will be a good one. Keep posted.

What I’ve Been Reading/Listening to/General Recommendations

I’ll give you three for this week.

I first found Laura Jedeed on Twitter covering far-right conservative protestors in the Portland area. (Both she and I now have similar feelings toward Twitter.) She’s moved to New York and now writes on Substack about conservative politics. She comes up with some great work like this one about the rise in hatred of trans people. And she answers her emails, which is cool. (I’m the one who talked about seeing her on Twitter talking about Portland.)

Art Cullen is the editor and co-owner of the Storm Lake Times Pilot who won the Pulitzer Prize a few years ago for editorial writing. Here’s a recent sample. We don’t have enough guys like him in Iowa or in journalism, but I’m glad we have him.

Even though I didn’t win their contest this year, the Midwest Writing Center is a great resource for aspiring and established writers alike in the Midwest area, especially Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. They’ve got plenty of programming and support opportunities available. Go check it out.

Writing Quote of the Week

Today’s quote comes from one-time Muscatine, Iowa resident and famed American writer Mark Twain. My corollary to this is the fewer words there are in a work of writing, the more true this becomes.

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

Final Thoughts

So, I bring this edition to a close. Hope all is going well. Writers keep writing and everyone out there keep safe.

– 30 –

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