Writing and the New Life

It’s taken me a while, but I’m finally setting into a work process here in Enterprise. The biggest challenge is finding the time I need to write while doing the other stuff we want to do. I finally had to reach the place where I realized that some of those other activities were more time-dependent than the writing. Writing can go anywhere (unless I’m editing a novel, and then that’s a bit more complex) and be done anytime in this new life where I’m not beating my brains trying to solve kid learning problems.

It also helps to have a nice office setup. The smallest bedroom in this house is my office (and when I say small, I mean small by US standards. A queen mattress effectively takes up the whole room). Still, I’ve managed to set up a computer desk area where the desktop lives with a side desk working area, a vertical filing cabinet, a second desk for editing/hand work/jewelry design, a couple of supply storage cubbies, and four bookshelves. Once I got the office set up, the brain cleared out and I could write.

Timing is a bigger challenge. Some activities such as fishing or woodcutting are time-dependent. But I’ve figured out other ways to handle them. Woodcutting is an excellent writing opportunity. Right now we have to get up and hustle out to the woods early in the morning due to fire restrictions which require that all chainsaws shut down at 1 pm (otherwise known as “hoot owl” logging). We leave the house to drive about twenty miles to where our permit lets us cut. The ideal is to have a location scouted out where we can cut several loads worth according to Forest Service restrictions—dead trees, can’t be any green needles, no ponderosa pine live or dead, no whitebark pine (but we’re not cutting at that altitude). That means we’re cutting lodgepole and red fir mostly, with the occasional prized tamarack (Western larch).

When I don’t have a sprained ankle, my primary job in the woodcutting endeavor is helping load the pickup. DH does all the chainsaw work, so my secondary job is to be around in case of problems. Granted, the most I could do is administer first aid, then haul him into the truck and drive as fast as I dared for help because there’s no cell service in the woods, but that’s the way things go. It helps that he’s experienced and careful.

While he’s cutting up wood, then, I have time to sit somewhere with notepad and pen to scribble out work. Between dust and sawdust I don’t really want to haul the laptop out to the woods, and this way I don’t have to worry about charging. I’ve found that the pickup tailgate makes a nice workplace, along with assorted dead logs on the side of the ridge (usually the forbidden ponderosa pine).

I’ve completed planning on one story, revisions on another, and cranked out the rough draft of an essay while doing this. The breaks to load the truck end up falling in the right sequence to keep the creative juices flowing, and the occasional interruptions to look at wildlife such as the fledgling Northern Goshawks near our first multiple load site turn out to be quick breaks.

Happy sigh.

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