Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Yardwork Approach to Writing

Historic Craftsman in Houston, Texas
Yardwork, like housework, is often only noticed when it hasn’t been done. Fortunately, I have an excellent house cleaner. Yardwork, on the other hand, is up to me. Sometimes I get it done in a timely manner.

I spent seven hours Friday weeding, trimming, mowing, filling dog holes, and performing other overdue yardly duties in preparation for the Saturday doggy play date and human dinner party. I’m pleased to say the yard looked quite presentable for my canine and human guests.

That’s all well and good, but my publisher is probably wondering what yardwork has to do with a writing blog. During those seven hours, I had plenty of time to think about Detective Scott McGregor’s house and yard and wonder whether he does his own yardwork.

Scott has an old Craftsman house; he likes the clean, straight lines and no-nonsense architecture. His manicured yard has a neatly-trimmed, flowering hedge around his covered front porch. The back yard’s covered patio is a necessity in Fresno’s sweltering summer heat. A high-end barbeque grill—his pride and joy—is built into an outdoor kitchen island.

Does McGregor do his own yardwork? If I do, he does too. He just does a better job.