Work, Wonder, and Windows

June 2023

Welcome to my blog. First time here? Check out last month’s blog for info on my intentions for this space.

Work: I’ve started on the next draft of my book, my untitled Armenian family memoir. The last draft I refused to begin with page one—I was sick of page one. I was sick of the beginning that might not even be the beginning, in the end. I picked a pivotal section on page 43 and sailed forth from there. Last week I landed on page 191 with new insights for global revisions, my main goal for that draft. I’ve returned to the beginning, and those new insights are helping me see what belongs here and what decidedly does not, and the fate of the rest of the beginning is uncertain at this point. As a person, I prefer the familiar, the known, the certain. As a writer, I’ve found the only way forward, for me, is to make peace with losing sight of the shore and trust that new lands will appear, eventually, on the horizon.

A helpful resource to take along on the drafting journey: Seven Drafts by Allison K Williams.

How do you tackle your drafts? Always from the beginning? Or do you jump around?

Wonder: Ivy has climbed up several trees at the bottom of our property. At some point the ivy will kill the trees; the ivy has killed a few already. This is terrible. This was preventable. I noticed the ivy at least fifteen years ago. Spread across the forest floor and beginning its grasp of tree trunks. Glimpses here and there, and oh look, over there. I knew ivy was invasive and could kill trees. After my initial discovery—something must be done!, despair set in—I don’t have time for another task, I can’t deal with this.

And I didn’t deal with it. Now the ivy has expanded its territory tenfold and trees are dead or dying. This is terrible. This was preventable. Bill and I have decided that something will be done. We started pulling vines away from the trees. I used a bow saw to cut through vines, wider than my hand, wound around tree trunks. We found the edges of the ivy’s reach throughout the forest and pulled the ivy up, slowing its progression. Ivy removal will be an ongoing task, this summer and beyond.

Almost three hundred years ago, Ben Franklin penned “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He was referring to house fires, and that seems appropriate here—the forest is part of what we consider home.

What kinds of tasks do you tend to postpone? Have you had to apply a pound of cure where an ounce of prevention would’ve gotten the job done?

Windows: This morning about 6:30, I looked out a second-story window and watched a raccoon shamble across the deck toward the backyard. The raccoon’s bristly gray-brown fur, pointy snout, black mask, and ringed tail make them an unmistakable creature. I moved to another window to watch the raccoon do a few sniffing meanders in the grass and then shuffle with purpose up the stone stairs to climb the wood arbor, reach out to grab the bird feeder and swing it toward their sniffing snout. The feeder was empty. The raccoon climbed down and waddled out of sight.

I’ve usually only seen raccoons through a window but once I was on our swing, which hangs from a cedar tree, and as I swung I tilted back my head and saw that unmistakable ringed tail hanging down, a young raccoon having an afternoon nap.

I don’t have pictures of either of those raccoon sightings, but here is one from last December, through another window.

Through a window or outside, what creatures have you encountered lately?

P.S. If you’re reading this on a phone and would like to follow my blog and receive an email when I post one, please let me know in the comments and I’ll add you—you’ll get an email to confirm. The follow button on my website isn’t showing up on phones and it’s a tech issue I’m struggling to resolve.


  1. franceshowardsnyder1

    Great blog post. Love the photo.
    I’m in the process of revising my novel — trying to focus on big picture stuff this time through. What big pieces to I need in place in the foundation to support the rest of the structure? How to shove these pieces into the foundation? I’m thinking about my non-fiction book on Cause and Effect in Fiction in the process.

    • Laura Rink

      Thanks, Frances. It’s interesting to think about the interplay between foundation and structure, and how changes to one affects the other. I’m also thinking about what expectations the beginning chapters set up for the rest of the book. Your nonfiction book will benefit from your hands-on novel work.

  2. Rebecca Cutler

    Lovely Laura. We usually put off things like painting the outside or inside of our house until we decide to sell it and then we don’t get to enjoy it. With this house we are saying YES to painting inside and out. YES to solar panels. YES to need inside shutters. All things that we would normally put off until later. We decided that we want to enjoy them and so we are not going to wait.

    • Laura Rink

      Thanks, Rebecca. Yay for you making your house lovely and comfortable now, for years of future enjoyment!

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