When your plow is a pencil…

Old Ike once said, “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” [1]

Of course, he wasn’t talking

about aspiring novelists who’ve set their story-world smack dab in the middle of a Depression-era farm. But he could have been. ‘Cause when you’re thinking about plot and storylines, the farming part seems pretty easy.

Until you try writing it. Then you realize the thousands of miles of information you don’t know!

For example…

Harold has just been entrusted with a great deal of money. He can’t seem to get the money out of his mind, thinking about all the things he needs and that he could buy if only it were his. He’s a poor farmer, remember, and this cash has him so distracted that he’s not paying attention to what he’s doing and he breaks—

He breaks WHAT? What is so tantamount to spring planting that Harold would consider “borrowing” money that isn’t his in order to fix/obtain it?

For that matter, WHAT job, precisely, is he doing in the field in the first place? What exactly does “getting ready for spring planting” look like?

These are the questions that seem easy when this city girl considers them from a big picture view. But they’ve absolutely stopped me, well, mid-sentence in the actual scene-building.

So, I turn to you, Dear Readers.

Are you a farmer in your current or former lives? If so, you can a) give me some clues regarding the questions above, and b) confess to me you have this knowledge so I can badger you mercilessly when other farm questions arise.

Do you know a farmer? If so, you can forward this blog to your farmer friend and entreat them to help out a poor, clueless, city girl.

Not a farmer, nor do you know any farmers? Are you sure? In today’s world of Social Media Magic, we have virtual friendships that sometimes even surprise us. Perhaps one of your friends is a closet farmer, afraid you might judge him/her were you to know. Well, I’m desperate, so I beg you, even if you fall into this category, please share this post to your Social Media news feed with the entreaty “Clueless City Girl needs your farm expertise.”

I’m not proud.

PS: Remember that section of novels where the author thanks all the people without whom they never would have been able to finish writing? A farm expert or even pseudo-expert would surely find themselves referenced in such a section. Just saying…

Sources & Notes

[1] Dwight D. Eisenhower address at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois; September 25, 1956

2 thoughts on “When your plow is a pencil…

  1. You sound like me! I’m in the midst of hounding colleagues for all the various Swiss, French and Scots terms I don’t know, and need to know, to get my characters’ voices fine tuned… Never mind all the police procedure stuff and the car-related stuff. I really know nothing about cars 😛


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