Help Me Out Here…

books-messyI need your help, dear reader. You see, I’ve begun another book before the first one is sold and so I’m once more doing research. “Captured by Wind,” it’s tentatively called, my book, not the books above, and ostensibly (meaning apparently but perhaps not actually) it’s to chronicle my love of storm and winds and wandering. I come from a long and illustrious line of wind wanderers. Here, for example, is the second paragraph of the manuscript.

I’m hardly the first. Wind and wanderers have a long and tumultuous history: Moses, Odysseus, Shelly, Wagner’s Valkyries and Washington Irving’s horseman, and long streams of pioneers and Native Americans, many lost to history. The list is endless, tossed by the wind. And lest we forget, there was Admiral Francis Beaufort, hydrographer and officer in the Royal Navy, who developed the Beaufort Wind Scale still in use today. 

You can see already what a complicated task I’ve set up for myself.

I began by ordering a book about Admiral Francis Beaufort, Gale Force 10, which chronicles his life from childhood to somewhere but I’ve only gotten to page forty-three because in writing in my haphazard way when I’m trying to figure out something, and many pages after writing about my wandering childhood and wind on the farm (yes, I know, it’s a leap but makes sense in the several pages of weaving and writing…one hopes…) I wrote:

While my early wandering took me across fields, Admiral Francis Beaufort began his wandering, at fourteen, on a ship bound for China. He was to comment later that his was “a strictly nomadic family,” although well versed in both scholarship and religion, as was mine: his Huguenot, mine Quaker. The beliefs of both the Huguenots and the Quakers made them outcasts, forced to keep moving until they arrived in more northern and less settled lands, his in Ireland in the mid-1700s, mine a century later in northern Kansas.

Well. Then. You see, my great-great-grandmother, Lucinda Moore, was part of that Quaker migration although she was born a Reich and likely Moravian (there’s not a lot of difference between Moravian and Quaker although Quakers were more persecuted), at New Salem, now Winston-Salem, so then I had to go find the article my great-grandfather wrote about his mother who married three men – the first two died leaving her with assorted children, and to a dugout with Mr. Moore in a hillside in Jewel County, Kansas where my great-grandfather was born.

However, in rising from my writing to go find the article, I was sucked into a black hole of years of saved writing: on Odysseus, on Kansas history, on prairie fires, on mythology, etc etc etc, having forgotten how much I’d accumulated years ago as I was thinking of writing Kansas Chronicles about my family and my step-family and Grandpa Albert telling stories of trading with the Native Americans who had an encampment just north of our farm.

Maybe that’s what I’m writing. The Kansas Chronicles, in a different form.

But there’s still that above pile of books, culled from my bookshelves dedicated to Kansas writing, and several file folders filled with newspaper clippings and stories and history and more pieces of writing. And I didn’t even add Gale Force 10 to the pile or a photo of the digital files I’ve saved and already written in the folder called Kansas Chronicles, saved since I wrote and published, in 2008, the first essay, On Fire and Family, about burning off the prairie after I’d returned to the Kansas farm.

And that’s what happens when you find out what you thought was a fresh idea has been simmering on the back burner for years.

Thanks. I calmer now. The task is daunting, but it seems to be the task I’ve embarked upon.

Unless, of course, I can convince myself to write the Mexico book which is also partly written.

I’ll update from time to time.

18 thoughts on “Help Me Out Here…

    1. Yeah…that. The wind…the wind….Right now, I’m more inclined to work on the wind book as it’s a book of essays rather than a monologue about me. Which is the same me i’m sort of tired of writing about right now.

      1. Whatever ticks you. I have found there are times for memoir stories and times for fiction. And times when nothing comes to mind. (So I post pix) 😉

  1. Your pile of possibilities is fascinating. I’m glad writing about it to your readers helped unclog your inspiration pipeline. I have a hunch you will find as you write that things may sort themselves out. When I used to write weekly sermons I found that after I had written the first paragraph the way was open to move on. I most often deleted the first paragraph. It was my test waffle. Good luck on your new book.

    1. Thanks, Viv. You’re exactly right. I think it was my “test waffle.” I love it! Frees me up considerably. I think this will be a book of essays, but I’m not clear yet. But right now, I don’t have to decide, do I.

  2. Wow. You have lots of work lady to get that book in order. It sounds like you’re having a “wind-dig” of a time researching. I think you have lots of books to write so good luck with your researching.

    1. Thanks, Janet. I think that’s one of the problems…too many books in me. Lol. I did more research and thinking today and going back over journals where I’d written about wandering. I’m seeing I’ve been thinking about this for some months…. if not years. We’ll see how it comes along.

  3. i wanted to help but the system would not accept the email address i entered. Go figure! Crazy wind!!

    On Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 1:17 PM, Janet Sunderland wrote:

    > Janet Sunderland posted: “I need your help, dear reader. You see, I’ve > begun another book before the first one is sold and so I’m once more doing > research. “Captured by Wind,” it’s tentatively called, my book, not the > books above, and ostensibly (meaning apparently but perhaps not” >

  4. You have quite a task before you, Janet. I hear a lot of excitement in what you have recounted here for us. Good luck and keep us posted as time goes on.

  5. This is mostly unrelated, but you’ve reminded me that I didn’t know until this last trip that there are Mennonites in Kansas. I came upon a true barn raising — all wooden, lots of men, obvious old-fashioned methods. It was such a delight to see.

    I imagine there are piles of delights in that stack you photographed — and that that’s only the beginning.

    1. There are indeed. It always surprises me to remember that when I see them on the road. From what I can tell, they are south of Highway 36, the old Pony Express route, and north of I70.

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