Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Here's How Writing & Farming Are Alike

'We like that a sentence should read as if its author, had he held a plough instead of a pen, could have drawn a furrow deep and straight to the end.'
--Henry David Thoreau. To review several earlier mentions of HDT, you can begin
here. Simply follow the links.


At 7:54 PM, Anonymous writersblock said...

What I'm trying to write is leaving a furrow across my brow. Argh!

Think I will imagine some farmland and go for a walk.

At 8:02 PM, Anonymous flo said...

Another reason why they might be alike: I just completed some highly embellished ads and felt as though I was spreading a load of fertilizer. The customer was happy though, so I see your walk in the country and raise you a yehah!

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous joe said...

Here's another reason: jobs are drying up like a lifesucking drought. Maybe I'll get better earthy experience for a gritty novel at my grunt job, which at this point I am thankful to have. Parched and shriveled bank account -- the heat of the summer has not even begun.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

We have the beginnings of a lively thread here, and all posted whilst I sat in the cold and drizzle, watching the Indians game. But it helped that the company was first-rate, and the seats were splendid, right behind the Tribe dugout. What a lovely view of the game. But I admit that I peaked at email between innings, including these wonderful posts (I happen to get an email alert whenever someone adds a comment, so I can read them seconds after y'all leave them). Love the names and nicknames here. Don't know if I know any of you, but whether I do or not, thanks for visiting.

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous carmen said...

The farmer knows how dependent he is on the sun, wind, and rain. Now we are far more aware of how dependent we are on things beyond our control. I was thinking about that recently. As hard as it is, it is very grounding as well.

Love the ideas you are sowing, John.

At 10:45 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Nicely said, Carmen. We can all use some additional grounding now and again, can't we? The entire culture got carried away in a decades-long fit of affluenza, and we're reaping the results. There will be a lot of good coming out of some of this economic pain being felt by many. None of these ideas would be worth sharing without wonderful readers like you. I feel blessed that way.

At 8:27 AM, Anonymous craig said...

The seed of an idea, however, can grow forever. No matter the age or profession, we all can teach each other.

"I have learned much from my teachers, more from my colleagues, but most of all from my pupils."

At 8:41 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

You said it, Craig. Every time I speak or present, I learn a half dozen or more useful things.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous jodie said...

Not every seed or idea is worth nurturing.

I came across this video, that although it takes some time to watch, it discusses so beautifully the process of nurturing practical wisdom, defined by Aristotle as "a combination of moral will and moral skill."

Beautiful nuggets like this, "A wise person is like a jazz musician who knows how to improvise by using the notes on a page, but dances around them." Certain hard and fast values may be the values one grows up with, job parameters, or lessons learned by making painful mistakes can form the basic score.

Hard times for all can encourage a recalibration of our moral compasses. Mine has immeasurably benefited from our encouraged time of silence and listening.

Any one that considers the steps outlined here, encourages their heart, home, school, business, and nation to be a place that nurtures excellence in the company of values like kindness, care, and empathy.

I also found it interesting that this begins with a quote from Obama. Very thought provoking and worthwhile for anyone who is into mentoring as well.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

Making art is also like farming in terms of crop rotation: don't do the same thing all the time. And in terms of fallow periods: sometimes you have to let is sit for awhile before doing anything with it. Trying to force things is often what leads to problems, rather than letting them lie.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Crop rotation is the perfect metaphor for creative pursuits. As it happens, I chose to go fallow myself (at least in this venue) for about six weeks, which is precisely what Art's talking about.


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