The news of the weekend: Sarah Dunning Park, my wonderful map-artist, has finished all 99 maps. I’ll be sending the hard copies on to Norton for copyediting next week, after which she’ll probably tinker with a few of the elements (font sizes, line styles, etc.) before the finalized maps go on disk to the production department. Now Sarah can go back to moving into her new house (here she is on the porch of the trailer where she and her husband and baby have been camping out while the house construction wraps up):

Meanwhile I have been doing everything in the world except writing. I spoke at a conference in Maine (lovely people, beautiful setting, but I forgot my camera) and lectured on rhetoric at the University of Richmond (ditto). This upcoming week I’ll be in Philadelphia, taking part in a panel on education and doing a guest lecture at my alma mater, Westminster. I will try to remember the camera.

The travelling, which is an important writer-job (it keeps the books in front of the public eye), also makes it impossible to write. And with spring coming, duties on the farm tend to multiply as well. We had the first big grass-cut of the year today, a task made slightly more complicated because my second son (who is supposed to take over the grass-cutting duties this year) turned out to be just slightly too light for the Kubota zero-turn mower. It’s got a safety switch that cuts the engine if it thinks the seat is empty, and whenever he shifts his weight, the engine quits. We finally solved this by putting one of Pete’s fifteen-pound weights on the seat and plonking him down on top of it.

And off he goes, a very small spot in a very big field.

During all the travelling and grass-cutting and book-packing (I’m getting ready to move out to my new office) and permission-hunting, I am trying to carve out an occasional four or five hours to start on the next manuscript. Without at least one solitary period of writing a week, my imagination starts to wither. Right now it’s feeling pretty dried and shrunken.

More next week…

Showing 8 comments
  • PariSarah

    Wow–you win cool mom of the year award. I think my son would lose his teeth if I offered to let him operate a riding mower. Before he’s thirty.

  • Susan Carter

    You are awesome, Most people think I do alot of things. I am an
    Optometrist 22 hours a week, I homeschool my 6y/o 2 days a
    week with wtm (by the way he cries when I turn off the story of the world c/d in the car!!!), I’m teaching my daughter to read 3.5y/o. I teach Base 10 Montessori math centers at my son’s school and I am reading mom at my daughter’s school. This seems to be 1/10th of what you accomplish in a day. Good luck and I will buy your book the day it comes out.
    I made a history timeline note book, I was going to buy one but none of the ones on the market had what I wanted.
    1. vertical lines for neat hand writing,
    2 A small time line across the top of the 2 page spread to show what period of time you are dealing with visually (like Kingfisher does in the newest version) key for young children
    3. a space that is open for pictures and stickers (I use homeschool in the woods stickers, shrunk down 50%)
    4. three ring bound so we can put his story of the world dictations and extra pictures– the librarian helps him print out in the proper time period.
    I put tabs so you are always turning to a time line page and not a dictation. It is awesome in my opinion. I put it in a notebook with shoulder straps and my son thinks it is so cool he slept with it for 3 days.
    Reading your book wtm helped me gain the confidence to do what I knew was right for my children all along, It is hard to find people in my area that nurture education to this extent. My son currently has 85 book out of the library on ancient Greece and and the current part of animal classification we are working on. He loves ancient times, thanks to you. Keep up the good work!!
    Susan Carter

  • JFS in IL

    Carve out four or five hours to write? No – Carve out four or five hours to TAKE A NAP!

    I get tired just reading about all the stuff you manage to cram into your life!

    My ds, 14, wants your lawn mower. I just want the acreage.
    zzzzzz I will go take a nap for you zzzzzzzzz

  • Verity in Alberta

    Wow, the trees have leaves!! You actually have grass growing, I’m so jealous. Up here the snow is just melting. Why, oh why do I live where it’s winter for 6 months.

  • Lynn in WI

    My life’s distraction right now is painting trim and plaster walls so I’m quite anxious to know what color(s) you chose for your office. Do tell. (When you have a moment.)

  • Amy in MD

    Great photos of your son – love the small spot one!! Hope you get some writing time in soon.

  • Dy

    I want a ride-on mower!! Too cute about the seat. I’ll have to keep that in mind, for I doubt our eldest will ever weigh much until his 30’s…

    Enjoy beautiful springtime on the farm!


  • Jackie in AR

    We solved the problem of my sons being too light to ride the riding mower by plunking down our oldest dd (age 8) behind them on the seat. They have a merry old time wheeling around our back yard now. She feels like she is definitely *helping* with the lawn care.

    Good luck with finding time for your next project!

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