Don’t Forget the Name of the Dog

I don’t think I realized what I would learn when I opened Clark’s pages.

I was reading to check his book off my list. For no other reason. Yet I discovered nonfiction humor–I found an encourager, and a way to really make this type of life happen.

Annie Dillard introduced me to the writing life, but I believe it is Clark who has really handed me, as his favorite analogy goes, the toolbox. I have so many ideas now, waffling through my brain and demanding my attention and focus.

Because of them I guess I will have to stop this post and go onto something else, something hands-on, something like writing with my feet, something like drafting, dropping gold coins, climbing up and down the ladder of abstraction. So much to do . . .

Which, I guess, is my question really. What is to be done? What door shall I open to start down the pathway of what needs to be done? Will I set back in my plastic chair, watching Barnabas swim round and round his bowl (yes, I bought a fish), and just think about what I learned. Or will I actually set out my toolbox and use them, practicing and practicing, until they are rusty? Until I have to buy new ones? Until  Clark’s 50 tools become part of my writing life too? What direction will I go? What direction will you go?

I must end with Roy Peter Clark’s words themselves. They are too good to pass up.

“Own these writing tools. They now belong to you. Keep them sharp. Share them with others. Add your own. Take pride in your craft. Join a nation of writers. And never forget to get the name of the dog” (245).


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