So in my undergraduate days, I studied creative writing, amongst other subjects, but to tell the truth, my attempts at poetry were just horrible. I remember one of my professors telling me I just had to put the practice hours in and I would progress, but I never spent the time. I had not found my voice then and had no idea what I really wanted to say about life.
As sad as it sounds, the advent of computers, email, and social media have given me the opportunity to acquire practice hours and I have seen my skills tighten over the years. I no longer have any desire to write poetry and much prefer the wordier nature of prose though, specifically essay writing.
Add to that fact, I have really gotten to know myself in the intervening years and my voice feels very authentic now. The former being a prerequisite for the latter in my opinion. Being a farmer has given me a chance to make quiet observations about my vocation, nature, the environment, conservation and the insignificant experiences of daily life I come across from time to time that really turn out to be so significant when given a little consideration. It is a matter of focus that has become clearer with age, and I now feel like I might have something useful to say from time to time.
So here I was this morning channeling my best Mark Twain as I was sitting in bed writing to a friend about farming when I wrote: “I find there is always the next step in learning and refining and since one round takes a year, you only get a limited number of tries before the deal is over.”
As I re-read what I had just written it dawned on me that farming is just re-writing and editing in a different context and that is why I am so comfortable with the process! The earth is my tablet; the plow is my pen; the plants are my words, and each year’s effort is just a re-write and edit of the previous year. What an epiphany!