Scrapbook One Hundred Seventy Nine…

scrapbook

APRIL 2017

 

Heck With Those Guys

In high school I don’t remember anyone giving me instructions on how to write. They probably did and I just wasn’t paying attention. So in later life, when I became interested in words and how they were used, I naturally gravitated to a trial and error style of writing that suited me best.

In 2011, when my book, The Thrill of the Chase, co-won an award for best independently published book of the year, I received a letter from the judges. It said my entry was among other things, childish, which they must have thought was pretty good because otherwise how could I have won the award? It started me thinking about how different people write.

William F. Buckley Jr.

William F. Buckley Jr. was one of my heroes. I saw him once in an airport in Newark and he looked straight at me, so I’ll call him Bill. Bill had a daily column in the NY Times. When he got on the commuter train in Connecticut each morning he didn’t know what he would write about, but when he alit an hour later in New York City, his creation was finished. He rarely rewrote, he said, and no one ever dared to edit him. While his method is on the Technicolor end of the writing spectrum, mine is on the black and white. That’s okay with me because our composing modes are diabolically opposed to each other.

My habit when writing something short, is to decide on a subject, then start gathering sentences together with some kind of focus, but not much direction. They need to stay close to the topic and carry my theme or plot to the end of the story. Often, the thoughts come rushing out as I think along. One notion propagates the next. Sometimes I can’t type fast enough.

Then I retreat to the beginning and try to reorganize my words into some kind of acceptable cohesive unit. How can I say a line better and keep it in the same flavor as the others? Is this sentence too predictable? Do I want to misspell a word to make the reader stop and look it up, and maybe feel a need to respond? It’s okay if the reader wants to work with me. I use other techniques too, like corrupting a word or idea. In my Thrill book I wrote about courting my wife. “Everyone knew she was too good for me, but tenacity was never one of my shortcomings.” That sort of thing causes the kind of word-of-mouth publicity that I need because I self-publish and don’t have any distribution. And it’s my way of keeping a reader’s attention fresh. If one knows exactly what I mean then who cares what the word is, or how it’s used. Educated editors disapprove of me en-masse, but they don’t have a Pulitzer either.

I am frequently criticized for where I put commas. My reply is that I don’t want to use anybody’s book-writing rules. It is my prerogative as the writer to decide when I want the reader to pause, not the reader’s, and certainly not the critic’s. Cormac McCarthy was known to write a story and then go back and remove all of the commas.

The hardest part of writing for me is sitting down and getting started. Some of my techniques develop themselves as I write along. For instance, I learned when researching my J. H. Sharp biography that the elderly Taos Indian models wouldn’t answer my questions about the artist. I quickly discovered that if I said something to them that I knew was wrong, they would correct me, on and on, and tell me things I wanted to know. Success sometimes hides in squinting wrappings, but a delicate new bow, if tied correctly, can widen eyes.

I wrote this someplace a few years ago and maybe you’ll think it’s worth remembering, Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key. f

 

128 thoughts on “Scrapbook One Hundred Seventy Nine…

    • as i put sugar in my morning coffee to sweeten the day remembering yesterday in a place that i love that has the key all around it. you say where is this place then i must say there on the grass of pleasure and peace of the mind. some know it. others are sure to find it and when they do it will bring a smile to their face as it has mine.these places are every where if you slow down and look and think, is that not our lesson? no i dont know yet where the treasure is but i do know it is somewhere. but then dont we all. thank you ff for the adventure not sure id take it even if i did know. there is something in the creation of a mans life work that leaves us with a lot to think about.. i also think of those who may follow this in the future but Im deep like that i guess have a great day every one be grateful every day for all you have and all you can do.watching the generations continue to play will bring more joy then any thing i need i believe after loosing everything that is easy for me to say.i learned i need nothing but the love of family and friends ff is telling us that thought is what it is all about. using it will bring you all the joy you could ever desire. you dont need the treasure for that Jb i tell you this because my mind is damaged but i still love life so live yours well my friends.

      • Jeff,
        Wow, so right and so wrong, your “damaged mind” has not in any way blocked your ability to express that which comes from a beautiful heart. Your expressions are a gift we all appreciate, Thank You!

      • Thank you Jeff , your words are very true. I too had a medical condition ( heart attack) and was given 20 hrs to live, like you everything was taken from me. And again like you I fought with every ounce in me to regain my life. Jeff, you have been a big inspiration to me , thank you for being you…
        Yes, live each day as if it’s your last. I agree, Notice all the little things in life , only then a person can realize how huge they really are….

        Thanks again Jeff , I’m glad to see your doing better…. have a great day my friend… see ya

        • thank you I STILL Struggle but its a lot better then giving up we learn to live with our disabilities. being grateful helps. hang in there

    • Wait I thought I had it first… LOL

      I>K

      I remember Ole Sport . I love that place …..=)

      Some times Ole Sport , you really do something right,

      Thanks again Dal and Forrest Fenn for all you do .

      Happy Holidays for some , and Happy Easter to others . I wish your days full of happiness.

      With our Love as always
      God Bless you all !!!

      Mr.D and Heather

    • You’re lucky, Amy.

      I need a locksmith. My keys are locked in the sedan.

      Again. :/

      Happy Easter, Everyone.

      The One who holds All the Keys…the First and the Last…unlocked His Own tomb and Rose above it all on this day. He unlocked all of our tombs at the same time…a Gift we can never repay.

      https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-Corinthians-15-55/

      Thank You, Forrest and Dal. I enjoy the Scrapbooks.

    • Information collected for review is what I see, Oz10. Almost all, has been stated in the comments and the book.

      On a personal note, I like fenn’s explanation on the use of commas… “It is my prerogative as the writer to decide when I want the reader to pause,…”
      What do you think Sam? You know this has been driving me nuts…lol

      As to the poem…The one point I see that seems to answer the age old question, tight focus of a word that is key, might have been answered… Imagination.
      Well, that’s my theory anyways.

      • Yep, the comma thing and this line -I use other techniques too, like corrupting a word or idea-

        He did make me pause to look up that word (alit) I wasn’t familiar with it.

      • you think that word is in the poem let me wrap my thinker around that for a secound. lol.in invisable ink ok ty.

      • That comma thing struck me equally as well. It certainly gives one a reason to pause for a thought. Although a key, with my perplexity being, I can’t imagine to say for which one.

  1. Geez! If this scrapbook doesn’t get the blog buzzing more than ever, nothing will! How many ‘hints’ do you think the bloggers will suggest Forrest put into this scrapbook? Or, are they clues?

    Happy Easter!

    [54 days ’til Fennboree!]

    ~ Wisconsin Mike

  2. Wow Sparrow. I’m sure I speak for everyone by saying I had no idea you had so much pull. You da man!

    Just curious Dal. How long does it normally take you to make the post after you receive it from Forrest?

    Thank you much Forrest and please have a great Easter.

    • I don’t think it’s “pull” –it’s luck. I just happened to ask at the right time. lol. 🙂

      But thanks Forrest and Dal— I never tire of reading these SB’s– they are truly interesting and very well put together. I’m sure I speak for all when I say thank you, they are very much appreciated!

    • Pina-
      Less than a year for most of them. I have to analyze them for clues and apply the leads before I am willing to share them…lol…

      Honestly…a couple days…
      Forrest was sending one every day for a few days…but I wanted them to be up and get a lot of attention before I posted the next one…So, this one being the exception…I only posted them every other day…

      I find that on this blog a good new post will get about a couple thousand visits the first day and another couple thousand the second day. But if I post a new item every day that interrupts the second day’s traffic on the older story…a lot! Not as many folks will get to read the old story because they are drawn to the new story instead…

      On day three the number will go down to 500 or so for the old story…so it seems like the end of the second day is a good time to push out a new one…

      For instance…
      Scrapbook 177 had 525 views so far today.
      Scrapbook 178 had 2,225 so far today
      Scrapbook 179..this one…already has 248 views and it’s only been up for an hour or two…

      At the present time there are no stories from Forrest waiting to be posted. I am all caught up.

      • Dal, thanks for all you do for this wonderful bunch of folks who have become one giant family. And thanks, Goofy, for helping Dal with whatever it is you do. Where would Forrest publish all these wonderful tidbits of his past if it weren’t for you two? I’m glad you are caught up so you can search for Easter eggs today…something much easier to find. Happy Easter to you and Kathy and all you Fennaholics! 53 more days to Fennboree but who’s counting, except for me and Wisconsin Mike. 🙂 cynthia

      • Very interesting. I really was wondering how you managed all the recent posts while at the same time trying to stay in touch with our comments.

        Thank you much Dal.

  3. Forrest, I love the way you write, I have all 10 of your books, and i cherish each one, especially the personal drawing you did for me.
    I would love to be able to come to Fennboree and get the 3 signed, maybe it will happen, i have the imagination and love it.
    Wilderness is Therapy
    I was on a Mtn here in Arkansas today hauling gravel to an acess road that goes to a crystal mine, we even stopped and fished the lake for 2o minutes or so,, the crappie are biting here,, We also had a cool vegetable lunch.
    Wilderness is Therapy from Papa John, I like that, and it is..
    Thank You to You and Yours

  4. Once again, Forrest, thank you! 🙂

    Just a note, comma’s are important. Consider the two following sentences.
    “A woman without her man is nothing.” or…
    “A woman, without her, man is nothing.” 🙂

    (Of course I don’t believe either statement.)

  5. Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key. f

    So is ‘imagination’ the ‘a word that is key’ or is ‘imagination’ the key to ‘a word that is key’?

    Or is it just another key on the key ring that has more than several keys on it?

    Going into thinking and review mode now…

    • Well, these techniques appear to have served him very well, especially when writing something short:

      “My habit when writing something short, is to decide on a subject, then start gathering sentences together with some kind of focus, but not much direction.”

      “Then I retreat to the beginning and try to reorganize my words into some kind of acceptable cohesive unit.”

      And he’s definitely gotten a lot of mileage from this one, during the past six or seven years:

      ” I quickly discovered that if I said something to them that I knew was wrong, they would correct me, on and on, and tell me things I wanted to know.” 🙂

    • JCM ~ “Going into thinking and review mode now…” Yep, time and time again.

      If you’ve been wise and found the blaze ,
      look quickly down , your quest to cease , but tarry scant with marvel gaze , …

      Is it the end {pick up the chest} or being told there is more to do? …to actually do something to finish the quest… locate the chest.

      IMO, Look quickly down, tarry scant with marvel gaze. Might be telling us we need to think and analyze what it is we need to do, see, observe, to locate, the precise location that will not be stumbled upon.

  6. To write more than a few words or sentences I need a muse.

    In high school I wrote a award winning poem about a tiger that walked slyly through a jungle like a hot knife cutting through butter while a saxophone played in the background. Honestly I wonder how I came up with the thought at 17. I’d never seen a jungle and there was no internet yet.

  7. Never mind the hints, these are great writing tips! From someone who’d like to be able to write – and actually attract a few readers – thanks for the ideas!

  8. “Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key.” The key to the puzzle and also to the kingdom no doubt. Happy Easter everyone!

    -Randawg.

  9. Hi Forrest, thank you. Being obvious is at odds with the risk of being misunderstood, and I’m guilty of both. Equilibrium is hard to find.

  10. Forrest, you have such fun arranging words in such a way that it makes you smile at the end of a sentence. 🙂 Thank you, and, I agree! To heck with em’…
    Happy Easter. Hope you are well.

  11. Recently I suggested to Mr. Fenn that he paints with words. Oh, I don’t mean he’s one who sketches a scene ahead of time then precisely follows the pattern. I don’t mean that he paints by numbers. But, instead, he creates a scene in which we are all drawn, adds highlights and lowlights, leaving just enough of that canvas clear so that our curiosity, our imagination kicks in, we relate or ponder. I believe that a good artist is one who lets the imagination do what it is supposed to do, and Mr. Fenn is a great artist. Does anyone paint? I do (oil). I’m not gifted by any stretch, but his description of how he writes is very similar. Like all creative pursuits, one paints in layers. It starts with a vision, seen perhaps only in the minds eye, and then little by little paint is added, sometimes applied directly onto the previous coat to add detail, depth, perhaps even to change something entirely. Color and texture and tone is added, layer by layer, until finally others see what you saw all along. Technique or not, the imagination is key. It is the ability to see something before it is even there.

    • Bonnie, Kudos to you! well said! Just get out today and take the kids on an Easter Egg Hunt, and paint a memory and got CH_RH? Now what or who is missin?

      TT as in Enthusiastic! The three Marys said he is RISEN!

  12. Cool story.
    What amazes me is Forest managed to repeat himself.
    Unless I am missing something. I see only old news in this story,
    Nothing eye opening.

  13. “While his method is on the Technicolor end of the writing spectrum, mine is on the black and white.”

    After I wrote the article on this blog in March, “Winter Thoughts” and uploaded the photos of my favorite place, then communicated with Dal several times, I for one got a new appreciation for not only WHAT Forrest has been doing posting for all these years while, (comma) simultaneously writing (comma?) great books, self publishing and promoting, WOW!

    Also, I do not think very many people will really understand what Dal has been producing. They say; if you want to get an important job completed and do it correctly, give it to a busy person, and Dal is the key to success here along with Goofy, the WiZzard behind the screen.

    If Bill wrote in Technicolor and Forrest writes in Black and White, then stuff like WE write, ie. my “Winter Thoughts”, are just Hieroglyphics.

    Tom T

  14. William Buckley’s “composing mode” was to avoid moral ambiguity. If Forrest’s mode is “diabolically opposed,” wouldn’t that mean Forrest is purposely morally ambiguous, as demonstrated in the SB about Dr. Gene Scott?

  15. This is one of the times we all can look forward to when the lord will resurrect us and we all meet at great banquet to see all our old friends and have good times again .Happy Easter

  16. Good morning and Happy Easter to each and everyone of you!
    This was a very enjoyable read. I too was a fan of William F. Buckley!
    And Cindy, you and Wisconsin Mike aren’t the only ones counting the days till Fennboree! LOL
    Tom

  17. On the master’s writing: I suppose there’s nothin wrong with reader being stopped in her tracks by the writer interjecting non-sequitors frequently; just poses a lot of questions “why?” Is the answer in poem instructions: “…nine clues, that if FOLLOWED PRECISELY….” which phrase stands in opposition to anything of a non-sequitorl nature (Si?) What gives with that?

  18. This is good advise. I start with a good opening line and have a very hard time melding my opening to it’s contents. Thank you Forrest.

  19. think (v.) Look up think at Dictionary.com
    Old English þencan “IMAGINE, conceive in the mind; consider, meditate, remember; intend, wish, desire”

    Think=Imagine

    Abherrations at the edjes?

    What does it mean to think at the margin? It means to think about your next step forward. The word “marginal” means “additional.” The first glass of lemonade on a hot day quenches your thirst, but the next glass, maybe not so much. If you think at the margin, you are thinking about what the next or additional action means for you.
    -Library of Economics and Liberty

    This post has been brought to you by RCA pre-editing /color analyzation demand….though arguably sepia toned.

  20. HA! I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said. — William F. Buckley Jr.

    Freedom is having to suffer the consequences of your actions.

    Even with his snooty accent. Who couldn’t like a guy like that.

    Apparently there are 50 or so book awards open to self-publishers, I wonder which outfit awarded The Thrill Of The Chase its’ award.

    • “[The Thrill of the Chase] garnered a tie for first place in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards in the ‘Memoir’ division.” – (reported by dal in 2012)

      K

    • Interesting! You believe Forrest is telling us this? As if speaking one or all directly? “Just go for it and use your noggin.” Or did I interpret incorrectly?

  21. And all this time I thought Mr. Fenn was an architect. 🙂

    For myself, I tend to use a lot of commas as well, as my mind takes off on tangents, yet are somewhat attached to the main thought.

    Thank-you, again, Mr. Fenn and Dal!

  22. Thanks for sharing these stories Forrest. Got any more? : ) I have a 1940’s western scrapbook you might like.

  23. Well f , this is good advice. Thanks for the writing tips …. Please share more of that stuff… PLEASE !

    SO I took your advice and really tried to write something original …

    Sorry but poetry pages are closed . But this has a lot to do with this post. Please read and let me know what you think… Thanks
    Mike-Book number 2
    Warm Whisper
    Written by by Mike D’Antuono

    Whispering winds of faded times past ,
    the trees’, the seas’ , the life , kept in the keep safe of our minds. The very place where we keep the secrets of our hearts heart. Oh still is mine heart ,and silent mine ear, the listenings of the worlds embolden music appears. Boldn in
    crimsons tapered coat of courage gleams
    through the peering morning light , to eye …
    to sight … shining bright for all . Is it not for the brightness of ones light that each day brings new adventures of Navigating our vessel in colors of life. Painted by freedoms brush , walk the fields of golden rye to edge of it and look to see the plains meet the mountains of knowledge while the rivers of wisdom ever flowing in which we all wish to drink from ..

  24. Thanks so much for another delightful post Forrest, and thanks to you Dal for doing the work that is necessary for us to read Forrest’s cherished words.

    “To heck with them” – my sentiments exactly Forrest. You are the one with the prize, not the nay-sayers. Just the opinion of a dottering old fart. JDA

  25. Bow’s. bow ties, rainbow’s, altered bow’s on painting. Eric Sloane liked homemade bows.

    What’s the deal with the bows?

  26. When my teachers tried to teach me how to write the most they could do was to get me to write stream of consciousness. To write in the same way that I would think. I didn’t even know how to speak much at all.So we had to work on that too.
    The main problem that I have with the educational methods of the time was that they would make everything into math. Grammar was math to them. Art was math with paint
    Music was math with unintentionally discordant notes. Even philosophy had to be analyzed through an extensive process of algorithms and pincer attacks.
    And I have never used any of those methods in real life. Because real life isn’t rocket science. I just get up and get out there.
    It does take tenacity to get what you want. But not even the educational system will make that into math. No, they will call it stalking and call the police.
    Education is bullcrap, eat tacos.

  27. “How can I say a line better and keep it in the same flavor as the others?” I really like that. Thanks so much for the SB’s Forrest, Dal and Goofy, and have a wonderful Easter!

  28. I discontinued college courses because of English 102 when the professor wanted me to write the way he thought but wouldn’t attend homework time with me to be my brain to accomplish it.

  29. I came across another J.H. Sharp. Andrew J.H. Sharp, author.

    “She runs her finger carefully and slowly under the words as if she’s translating a sacred text: ‘The day comes when they have to declare the great Yes or the great No. … that no … drags him down all his life.’ Something gives way in her. A snapping stay. A crack in an ice field. She feels herself falling into a white silence. In the vast quiet she makes her choice.” from ‘Fortune’ by Andrew J.H. Sharp

    a comma is only a pause for breath

  30. Happy Easter everyone…
    I may not be able to find Forrest’s chest but I beat every one of those little kids to the hidden eggs this morning at the church…people were frowning at me…but I don’t know why…I won! I won! I won!

    • Oh, thats naughty, Dal.

      So, just because you can’t find a moose, you compensate by finding eggs hidden by a bunny just as mythical as you say the moose is…lol!!

      Which begs the question–do you believe more in the Easter Bunny than you do in moose? 🙂

    • Dal, you are in great need of a doctor: Wayne Walter Dyer comes to mind, DrWWD could help you a lot with your problems, for instance when hunting Easter Eggs with kids remember WW’s words; “when given the choice between being right and being kind, (always) choose kind.” Now what have we learned from this experience? Dal….HMM?

      Do Kids like hunting (finding) Easter Eggs? Do they like narrow gauge trains? Hey Teacher, leave those kids alone!

      TT

        • Thanks Tom,

          I’d never seen that rendition of the Pink Floyd tune… Always good to see the artist’s real intention, and not just the commercial rendition…

          Very cool… thanks for sharing.

          • Fennatical, Thanks for those kind words, as you know I am 70 now and like f I truly wish to leave something of value for my kids and grandkids. So I texted all my little fishin buddies, explorers and backpackers this note:

            Grandpa is not a wealthy man, and I probably will not leave you very many earthly goods, but here is a gift, if followed and stored up in your memory it will make you wise and wealthy;
            word@m-w.com so join today and become a whole lot smarter. You can thank me by sendin me pic’s and stuff.
            Grandpa Tom

            TT

      • I think Dal is an honest guy and didn’t look when the eggs were hidden. He honestly out smarted and beat all the four year olds to the eggs. However a problem arose when he threatened the eight year old group with his ice axe and took their eggs.

        This is according to the arrest report. I haven’t heard Dal’s side of the story yet.

        • Goofy, I think you, Dal, ff and me should all play a round of golf then we can see if Dal is an honest player, but we need to check his pockets to see if there are any holes in em, amazing how he always find his balls in the middle of the fairway?

          After this Easter egg hunt I am not sure bout that guy!

          Tom T

    • Buckley said that the first time he met Ayn Rand she said, “Surely you’re too intelligent to believe in God, Mr. Buckley.” For once he was without reply-

  31. …Tight focus with a word that is “key”…Imagination. I said it all along. It’s not a word in the poem that is “key”.
    Children are famous for it, so is Dodgson. (Who the heck is that?!)
    Imagination and F’s style of writing will solve the clues!
    “Imagination and confidence, Watson! That is the recipe for solving this crime!”
    {IMO}
    ¥Peace ¥

    • Gonna put you on the spot 🙂

      Ok, so lets say “Imagination” is key.

      How do we use the key? We all know how to use our imagination, everyone did it as kids, people stare at the sky and objects, see and feel patterns. We hunted for rocks, arrowheads and other things that were strange, we imagined what the person was doing when they lost it. How did they live? etc. We played Cops & Robbers, Cowboys and Indians. As kids in the 60s and 70s we lived outdoors and played, we did not waste away staring at cell phones.
      So that is imagination 🙂

      Everyone says “I knew it all along”. Can you explain exactly how the imagination is used to solve the poem? So we have a word that is key (maybe), how is the key used?

  32. Thanks Forrest,

    Thanks for giving me an excuse now for writing badly with misspelled words, commas being in the wrong places, and getting off topic in my sentences in what I write. I can just say now when asked about what I wrote, that I don’t go by anyone’s rules. Maybe you have seen this in my emails and here at HOD. LOL
    Well searchers are getting ready to head out and other are planning to soon. I hope they have had a chance to review all your recent posts lately because they sure have been food for thought. Always good to see posts from the one who chose to make a “challenge” to anyone willing to read a poem and decide where it will take them. Good luck all. Bur

  33. Thanks for sharing with us a bit on your writing technique, Forrest. I liked it!

    I especially liked the anecdote about Cormac McCarthy (an author that I also enjoy) taking out all of the commas completely at the end of writing. I had not heard that before. It seems like he’s doing the exact opposite of your technique. While you like to give signals to the reader of where you’d like them to pause, McCarthy gives full freedom to the reader.

    “If one knows exactly what I mean then who cares what the word is, or how it’s used.”

    And what about if one DOESN’T know exactly what you mean? Then we care very much indeed!

    “Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key.”

    (And that comma should really be a semicolon. 😛 )

  34. Ha! His composing mode is “on black and white.”

    This whole SB screams to look at the pics! Not Photoshopped– the key is “manipulated.”

    Treasures “bold…”

    Imagination – “the faculty of the mind which forms and manipulates images.”

    Key- “crucially important” or “the first move in a solution to a set problem.”

    Well, I guess he could be talking about math. “Set problem” = “…reorganize my words into some kind of acceptable cohesive unit…”

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