The title above refers to the Herculean task Sal and I gave ourselves trying to cobble a book together from the just-under 1000 blog entries (3000 pages) of Offthegridliving I had written as of 2012. There has been that much written again since then – this is yet another page. It just never ends.
The blog itself was originally conceived as a personal exercise to improve my writing and, while Malcolm Gladwell or Margaret Atwood are in no immediate professional danger, that goal has been at least partially achieved. Sally says I am no longer an F’ing writer. She now gives me an E. Frankly, I am giving myself a heavy D but, with a little more work and an actual story to tell, I am aiming for a non-embarrassing C-. Someday. Maybe.
The book we have been trying to write (about 300 pages) for a couple of years is in it’s third iteration. We have massaged it, culled it, varied it and added to the original stuff. Lots of rearranging, too. Sal has cut, cut, cut, that bloated little piggy. Mostly, sliced, cleaved and butchered, actually. Hogwash and Pork chops. Thus the title of the blog.
The book was initially titled North of 50 (referring cleverly to our then age and our latitude) and then Tales From Off The Grid. Sal likes that one. I like Urban Couple Goes Feral. We’re still thinking.
Other titles in the running include: The Making of a Hillbilly? Musings From the Margins? Off the Grid and Out of Our Minds To Hell With Safety? Longevity is for Sissies? Who Needs Hospitals?
Anyway, maybe we are at an even later version than third as we seem to continually chip away at it. It never really does end. Hmmm…. The Never Ending Story?
Now that I know better, I wouldn’t do it this way again. I wrote the blog and then, in a fit of writer’s parsimony, expressed a desire to re-use all those ‘existing’ words in some kind of different way…like a book! “Waddya say, Sal? Wanna edit a book?”
After a year, Sal had what she thought might be a book. It wasn’t. But good ol’ Sal kept at it and eventually produced something less-than-really-horrible. Out it went to a couple of beta readers. Friends in the field, people of letters, voracious readers, that sort of thing. And we waited. Got very few comments back and they were like warm milk turning sour. “Well, you’ve got some great raw material there, really raw. Good luck.” “Geez, I laughed at Guido. Was that in your book? Gotta go”. “Oh, the book? Yeah. Been so busy, ya know? Hard to find the time. Unh, you can still do mediations, right?”
And the lesson learned? Well, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. We should have remembered that. You can’t even make any kind of purse out of a sow’s ear, really. And, truth be told, you can’t even make a sow’s ear out of a sow’s ear because for it to be any good, it should have stayed on the poor ol’ sow in the first place. We tried to put lipstick on an already butchered and refrigerated display-case pork chop.
So, the lesson: When presented with a pig, make pork chops not purses and, for God’s sake, don’t put lipstick or a hard or soft cover on it.
And don’t ever say this blog is not educational.