In Other Words … Season 2, Episode 23

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Fireworks at Knight Point State Park, Vermont, July 3, 2021.
By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

It’s Independence Day weekend — longer than usual, because the 4th is on Tuesday. This is a time for fireworks and family get-togethers. Preparations for both have preoccupied me for most of the past week.

Fortunately, most of my work these days is in the form of blog posts that I can do in short sessions. Working my way through my journals during my breakout year as a freelancer has given me regular material for posts. It has also helped me focus on many projects, started but often never completed, and friendships, neglected but never forgotten.

It is beginning to give me insights into how I work, even today: procrastination, distraction, focus, frustration, anxiety, depression. If nothing else, writing this journal and reading it again has given me insights into myself as a writer. I hope it has been of value to you, the reader, as well.

Reading ahead in the journal, a natural breaking point is coming at the end of July. I started the journal August 1, 1978, at the end of my first year of law school, to help me understand where I was going. On August 1, 1979, I wrapped it all up in an end-of-the-year retrospective on how I did.

But if there’s reader interest — that means I’m looking for comments here or on Facebook — I can continue. September, 1979 was a start of a new chapter in my life as a writer and journalist, with a full-time job at the paper and a bit of newsroom drama. Should I go on?

Over the past week, we made a visit to Edward Tufte‘s Hogpen Hill Farms, an outdoor sculpture garden in Woodbury, Connecticut. Tufte is a polymath, an academic in many different fields. He studied statistics as Stanford and earned his doctorate in political science from Yale. He taught data analysis and public policy there and at Princeton for three decades. He is one of the world’s leading authorities in visual communications.

He’s also an artist and an author. We met him briefly in his studio, where he explained some of his works. We bought his latest book, Seeing With Fresh Eyes: Meaning Space Data Truth. I also snagged a copy of Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style by his late mother, Virginia Tufte. Both will be of interest to writers. The first will have special meaning to journalists and bloggers. I’ll post about our tour — and the books — at the end of August. Hogpen Hill Farms reopens after Labor Day.

In the coming week, I’ll have more posts about struggling as an emerging writer and how my fraternity friends helped me. I also have an essay about the four most important words in the Declaration of Independence and what they mean for us today.

Meanwhile, has announced its new “The Mega-Brands That Built America” series, which launches at the end of the month. The producers for this series interviewed me about the invention of Bubble Wrap, although I have no idea if/when it will appear. The producers casually said “sometime in August” but after my experience with Discovery Channel, I’m not holding my breath.

And for most of July and August, I’ll have time to work in my office on bigger projects. I’ll tell you all about them as they develop. Stay tuned!

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