Where Does One Go After Z?

In April, I participated in my first A to Z blog challenge. I wrote 26 posts based on the letters of the alphabet, blogging every day but Sunday. The organizers have asked us to reflect on the experience. It was good, it was exhausting, and it took time away from my other writing, but I’m glad I did it.
Having an assignment and knowing somebody will read it gives great comfort to this old newspaper reporter who spent years cranking out stories on deadline with little question about what to write next, only worries about getting to the end of the list. Of course, with the blog challenge, I could quit any time. It was tempting. April, like every month so far this year, was fraught with challenges, including plumbing issues, the Easter music marathon, and being sicker than I’ve been in years. But I didn’t quit. Most of the time, I had written two or three posts in advance and just had to post them, but even when I got to Z with nothing written and was miserably sick, I got up and blogged.
Having to write something that fit the letter of the day sent me in directions I would not have thought of on my own. Weed whacker? Dog ears? Milk-Bones? It led me to what I think is some good writing. The challenge also brought me some new online friends. We are now following each other’s blogs and cheering each other on.
It was fascinating to see how other bloggers used the same letters. So many great ideas. One blogged about cheeses, a different kind for every letter. Another blogged about movies. Yet another wrote a short story every day. Some posted pictures, others travelogues. The challenge is over now, but I urge you to do some blog-hopping from the A to Z siteand see how many ways those 26 letters can be used.
If you look to the right side of the screen, you’ll see links to my A to Z posts here at Unleashed in Oregon. On Wednesdays, I posted at Childless by Marriage and on Fridays, I took my traveling blog show to Writer Aid. If you missed any posts, they will remain archived indefinitely. And if you’re a writer looking for inspiration, try going through the alphabet.
Have fun. Annie and I are going to take a nap.

W stands for . . . Weed Whacker

As I hefted the big box onto the counter at Fred Meyer, the toddler in the shopping cart ahead of me stared at it. “What’s that?” he asked.

“It’s to trim my grass,” I said, feeling all proud and strong because I was taking charge of my own yard instead of depending on a husband or gardener.

The child pondered this for a while, then pronounced, “It’s a weed whacker!” How does this kid no more than three years old know this? I nodded. “Yes, it is.”

I paid my hundred bucks for this girl-sized appliance, electric instead of the monster gas one rusting in the shed. I could barely lift that thing. I took my new toy home and spent the next hour putting it together, with the dog supervising. It took 10 hours to charge the lithium battery, so I couldn’t use it that day. But the next morning, I couldn’t wait to attack the overgrown grass I’d missed on my first adventure with the lawnmower.

Battery charged and attached. Height adjusted. Handle placed where I wanted it. Goggles on. Ignition. Bzzzzz. It worked! I was only going to try it out, but I whacked every place that still had a blade of grass or a weed sticking up. Oh the power! I ignored the fact that my tendonitis-plagued arms soon started hurting (and now my right arm is almost unusuble) and that my back was already bothering me. Look at that grass fly. It was wet from last night’s drizzle. I could have/should have waited, but they were predicting rain, and I wasn’t going to wait several more days. When you get a dry day on the Oregon Coast, you’ve got to get outside and do the yard work. The wet grass did a number on my good shoes, and my socks are wet, but I don’t care. Look at my lawn.

I have begun to understand how people, mostly men, become obsessed with grooming their lawns. It’s instant gratification, as opposed to this writing business where you can write for years with minimal results beyond the satisfaction of having written.

If you’ve been mowing lawns for years and think I sound ridiculous, well, at 62 I’m still figuring things out. 

W stands for Weed Whacker, a power-driven device that trims grass with a rapidly rotating nylon cutting cord. It sure beats the little clippers I used cutting the grass along the fence as a kid. 

I’m participating in this month’s A to Z blogging challenge, and W stands for weed whacker. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
W Unleashed in Oregon
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Childless by Marriage

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Come back Monday to find out what X stands for.


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