There is no time for such an endeavor in the spring or summer or fall because there is too much to be done here on this little piece of earth I call home. There is hardly time to be writing a book in the winter, but I take and make the time and press on.
Marlene resigns herself to being a “writer’s widow” during these winter months. She has been through it before. She knows it is only for a season. She knows it is something I am passionate about. That it is something I must do. Deep within me is this desire to write; and share, and teach, and sometimes even bless people through my writings. I thank God for the ability and the desire He has given me to write.
The books also generate some income. That’s nice too. In time, I hope that income will provide enough money to purchase a bit more than the 1.5 acres of land I now own. That's the dream. That's the goal. To purchase a section of land, debt free. It's still a long way off at this point.
I remember when I first started writing magazine articles for Fine Homebuilding magazine. The publication paid me for simply taking words inside my head and putting them down on paper. Having worked physically in the building trades, freezing in the winter, sweating in the summer, breathing in all kinds of foul remodeling dust, squeezing into cramped crawlspaces or bat-infested attics, climbing up ladders and scrambling over steep roofs, pushing wheelbarrows of concrete, fixing broken sewer drain pipes, and so on and so forth, to make a living, and these magazine people were giving me money just for writing? It seemed to good to be true. It still amazes me.
But don’t you think for a minute that writing is easy, especially writing a book. It’s not. It is, however, downright satisfying.... when it’s finally all done.
It takes hours, and hours, and hours of focused time to write a book. I’ve been at it most all day today. I'll be at it most all day tomorrow. And I have the next day (Monday) off from work but I'll be in front of my computer typing away all day. It will go on like this for weeks and months. Every spare moment of time I will be working on this book. I think to myself that spring is coming. When that happens, I'll not sit in front of a computer all day. That would be torture.
It is now 9:00 at night. Marlene and the boys are 20 minutes away at a friend’s house enjoying a sauna, some good food, and fellowship. That is her Saturday night routine this winter. I write into the night while she enjoys a sauna. So don’t think she’s suffering through this. ;-)
In any event, I am excited about my next book. It is going to be something special. I can not divulge much about it now, except to say it involves a lot of old agrarian history and lore. I am gathering information now. I would like to give you a little glimpse into the sort of thing you will find in this next book. The excerpt that follows is taken from an 1855 farm almanac. It is an essay in the “Farmer’s Calendar” for the month of June. Though it is sometimes a bit difficult to read (the first time through) I love this kind of old writing and, especially, the message that is being conveyed in the words that follow. This excerpt is titled Sweet Home:
What is it that makes home sweet,--the home of the farmer, for instance? What, indeed, is it but smiles without doors, and smiles within. There can be no question about the matter. He goes forth into his fields, and beholds all nature in smiling bloom around him. “With verdure clad” appear the hills and vales; his waving crops, in their rich profusion, greet him with their redolency; the cattle leave their feeding, and hasten to meet him in his walk; the tender lambs frisk and play around, and even feed from his hand! As he labors, the sweat of his brow brings relief, and each gentle breeze meets with a cheerful welcome. When the sun goes down, with his implement upon his shoulder he repairs to his peaceful dwelling. Here no wry faces, no dark frowning, no cool glances of disapprobation meet him at the door; wife, children, and friends, with smiles and cheerful greetings, are all disposed to make him happy. All is peace, sweet peace, and no jarring, while everything indicates order, industry, and pure rational enjoyment. Frank Fretful would have such a home. Let all who want it try for it.
That, my friends, was written 153 years ago. America was an agrarian nation in those days. A Christian agrarian nation. Life for the vast majority of people of that time centered around Faith, Family, and Farming. Farms of the day were centers of diversified production and self reliance, involving the entire family. Life was hard, but it was simpler, and I dare say it was far more fulfilling than the average life lived in 2008.
Yes, the essay above is idealistic and romantic but it was written by a farmer who, I believe, was writing from his own experience. He was writing with a passion about something he knew and loved.
There is much that we can learn from the old writings. I believe a good measure of what we can learn is still applicable to the here and now. And the best of the past is certainly applicable to the futures we endeavor to make for our families. ”Let all who want it try for it.”