Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Final steps for Deerfield Diary

After almost three years and 355 posts, Deerfield Diary is closing up shop. I hope you'll agree I have a good reason, which I will share with you at the end of this final post.

The new set of steps pictured here is the final project of the renovation of our wrap-around deck that I began almost a year ago. Son Lem helped on the project during a recent visit. As physicians go, he's not a bad carpenter.

Looking back over my receipts, I see that the project used 12 pounds of deck screws and 120 pieces of "2-by" lumber ranging in length from 8 feet to 20 feet. I'm glad it's finished.

What have I learned over the last three years?

I'm now able to identify most trees now by their bark. I've become fairly adept with a chainsaw. My John Deere four-wheel drive tractor is as familiar to me now as an old pair of slippers. My biggest disappointment has been my vegetable gardens. I have decided I don't have the patience to be a good gardener. If I work all day tilling and planting, I want to see something happen. Pronto. It doesn't work like that.

Our house, a victim of the violent hailstorm in April, is finally in good shape for the winter with a new roof, power-washed and freshly stained cypress siding and newly painted trim. The woodshed is full.

To those of you who know me, I'll call your attention to a piece I wrote recently for International Stuttering Awareness Day. You can find it here. I've had some good reaction from it. The ISAD online conference lasts all month and is visited by thousands of people from 40 or 50 countries.

And now to my reason for ending Deerfield Diary.

After six years and thousands of hours at the keyboard, I'm proud to announce that Random House/Delacorte has purchased my first novel and plans to publish it in the spring of 2013. It's a young-adult offering entitled "Paper Boy." (There's a good chance the title may change.)

The story takes place in Memphis in 1959 and involves an 11-year-old boy who has to take on his friend's paper route for a month. The boy has a debilitating stutter and can only tell his story pecking away on an old typewriter in his upstairs room. I'm as proud of the manuscript as anything I've ever done. It's taken me 65 years, but I've finally managed to tell my story in the way it should be told.

My editor at Random House wants a final revision done by the end of the year. I plan to start on another writing project as soon as I finish the revision. I will create a new website and possibly a new blog in advance of the publication of my book.

For these reasons, Deerfield Diary is ending its run.

Deerfield Diary has averaged about 35 unique visitors a day for the last few months. My thanks to all who have taken the time to read my scribblings.

Now, it's time to take the next step. It's always about the next step.