29 September 2020

Which Days Were They?

Apparently, National Daughters Day and National Sons Day just passed by a couple days ago. 

I had never heard of such days before.

In truth, I don't mind missing them.

As far as I'm concerned, every day is a day for honouring both daughter and son.




30 August 2020

Summer Shaving Horse

This summer, I finally carved out the opportunity to make a shaving horse.

Principal directions derive from The Woodwright's Shop: A Practical Guide to Traditional Woodcraft by Roy Underhill (University of North Carolina Press, 1980) along with a little of this and that from the world wide web. 

(The sawhorses in the background are inspired by good ol' Roy Underhill and his good ol' PBS show "The Woodwright's Shop" - and fashioned from repurposed windshield pallets, as well.)


The plank and riser are from a pallet for shipping sheets of plate glass. The vise pieces are from windshield pallets. The legs are from deadfall pines salvaged off of Casper Mountain. The pegs are from the wild rose bushes in my Mom and Dad's backyard.

The twins are natural woodworkers! 

(I've since added pegs positioned specifically for their feet.)

10 July 2020

Fair - 2020

Just as the annual Parade was cancelled this year, so was the Fair and Rodeo. (The 4H animal shows were still held, nevertheless.)

So, we made our own Fair!

The twins made a carnival complete with a midway full of games, rides, concessions, a petting zoo, and even a Haunted House!
They invited relatives and gave out tokens and awarded prizes--sure to award themselves as well.
Just so happens to be the 130th anniversary of Wyoming Statehood. What a way to celebrate!
And what an honour to witness our children endeavour to make the best of every situation.

For us, it was the best Fair ever!

07 July 2020

Parade Day - 2020

Casper, Wyoming, holds an annual parade to kick off the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo.
Parade Day was canceled this year.

So, we made our own Parade!

The twins created a "Float" out of their wagon. We even decorated the dogs!
The route took us down the street to Grandma and Grandpa's house and then back up to round the block, wind hailing the whole way!
Cheers and waves and smiles from friendly neighbours. Tears of joy from Grandma.
For us, it was the best Parade Day ever!

30 June 2020

Plantser on the Spectrum

I don't typically write by plotting through every detail, adhering to a strict outline. Yet, I don't write quite by the seat of my pants, having no idea where each next word might lead.
So I suppose, for any given piece of prose or poetry, I fall somewhere in the middle between a "Plotter" and a "Pantser."

I mull over ideas for a while before I ever decide to pursue them on the page. Therefore, I generally have a fair idea of what I seek to write. I begin at the beginning, and, all the way through, I possess a  sense of the end. While I do not outline every plot point nor every characteristic of every character, I maintain firm notions of what shall happen and how characters ought to behave. And although I pretty well know where the story is going, I definitely enjoy feeling the flow of the words and discovering which ways they might direct the piece.

That's basically how always I've written. But a piece I just recently finished sprang a fantastic surprise on me, reawakening a personal sense of wonder to writing.

I was approaching the end of the first draft. It was a piece I had kicked around for a while before beginning. Plus, I worked on it only seasonally, just a few weeks every spring. So, all told, I had been working on this short story over a span of about of ten years. Plenty of chance to figure it all out, right?
I knew what I wanted to happen. I knew how the main character would react. But, having a general, if not a vague, idea the whole way for the finish, it was not until the final paragraph, not until the very last sentences, that I knew precisely how the story would end.
And as my concluding thoughts took shape--indeed, as they took hold--and as the ink flowed for those final few words, I remembered why I write in the first place. The pure marvel of inspiration. The sheer delight in illumination. The fantastic joy of finding the perfect word. The boundless wonder of expressing an idea and of sharing it with others.

Every piece of writing possesses those moments, to some degree. But this was the first story I had ever written where I did not know the true ending until the very moment I wrote it. 

I've had instances in writing where the words write themselves. It's absolutely terrific when that happens. But it was an altogether singular experience to be writing for so long toward an ultimate objective, lost between guiding the words and letting the words guide me, and then to have the entire spectrum of control and surrender--of plotting and pantsing--converge into a singular revelation connecting illumination and inspiration.

 Really does help remind me why I love writing.

Spectrum Tunnel
Spectrum Tunnel - Piotr Siedlecki - CC0 Public Domain

For thorough analyses of what "Plotter" versus "Pantser" is all about, visit these links:




31 May 2020

Today's Verse

I haven't written a whole lot in the last few months. Teaching online has taken most of my attention. (I'm busier all day at my computer than when I was in the school building--or so it seems, at least.) 

But no matter whatsoever else is happening in my life--even administering school library services online to 350 students and families during a pandemic--I compose a poem every year just for today, May 31st.

I wish my wonderful wife a Happy Anniversary.

May each year's verse continue onwards and ever truer.

Picture of a picture from twelve years ago.

28 April 2020

Pizza Night

Like much of the rest of the world, we're all staying close to home. And like so many others, we're doing our best to keep on keepin' on.

Tonight, we're all about "homemade pizza."

With a boost from Jiffy Pizza Crust Mix, a few sprigs of fresh spinach straight out of the garden, a thorough scouring through the icebox for cheeses and meats, everyone made their very own pizza pie!

 Thumbs up and gulps down!

Anyhow, after a couple of scares early on, we're doing all right now--healthy and humble, hoping folks are able to make the best of their circumstances and wishing everyone well!