Writing Short Essays
You have seen my ravings on this site for some time now. I have written about not being able to write for many years, which I attribute to my Attention Deficit Disorder. I just did not have the focus. Getting a diagnosis and treatment changed my life. The ADD is still enough of a problem that I don’t think I have a novel or long nonfiction book in me. Maybe I could come up with a long piece on regional geology, but it has been done many times. Someday, maybe.
I love writing these short pieces. I have wide interests, and there is no one telling me what to write. I do think I will do some independent reporting the next time we have a big geology related event. A good flood, landslide, or dam burst will do fine. There is an opportunity to write for our neighborhood association, but I will not sit through meetings.
Why not fiction? I probably have as many ideas for fiction as nonfiction, but the craft is more demanding. I can hammer out 500 to 1000 words in an hour or two, revising as I go, and it usually works just fine. I have a good editor/wife that straightens me out from time to time.
I have always had some talent and encouragement from teachers in high school and college about my writing. In college, I made some money writing papers for people for $10.00 a page. It had to be a subject I liked and knew something about. My best customers were forestry majors, who seemed to be only semi-literate.
Now, with the help of a lot of stimulation in the coffee shop, I can scratch some things out. My pieces seem to be getting longer, not because of any design on my part. I also plan to write more. No shortage of topics. I just hope I can avoid politics for the most part. Trevor Noah and Steven Colbert help me discharge most of my disgust for the current political climate.
I would like to do more humor, but I don’t seem to have the reservoir of funny stuff people like Dave Barry seem to have. People do tell me I am good at smart-ass remarks, however. My favorite writer is John McPhee, who is the best expository writer in the business.
I have been published. I wrote a book review for the journal of the Oregon-California Trails Association. I plan to do more writing about pioneer trails and history. The Western History section at the Denver Public Library is a good resource, but they won’t let you check anything out. It is necessary to go there, and they don’t have a coffee shop.
One thing is sure, I will keep inflicting my writing on you as long as there are a few of you to read my writing. I would like more feedback and criticism, however. Also, tell others about dofbill.com. It’s easy to remember, dof stands for doddering old fart. I started this with around thirty readers. Now I average about 100 hits every week. No Pulitzer yet, but I would write for just myself if that was it. Extroverts do like an audience, however.