Work’s Over, Let the Work Begin

It’s over. The 2009 class year ended pretty much as anticipated and as described in an earlier post.  We graduated everyone and then, burned backboards. After the class left, Don, Fred, and I cleaned the shop. The only difference is that we did not set up for the next class. We’ll do that the week before March 22. We had a cold Canadian craft beer, shook hands, wished each other a Merry Christmas (we’re not a politically correct bunch) and went home. We’ll surely see each other during the break, but we don’t have any plans.


I have three months without a class. Before you congratulate me on a long vacation, I assure you I have lots scheduled. I will be doing a lot of writing. I have some more magazine articles scheduled with Popular Woodworking. We will shoot the photos for those articles; plus the big one I told you about, that is now in the can. I also have plans for future postings here. I will be doing a lot of this writing from home. So, if you need to contact me, email is best.


I have another book underway. I hope to complete it, or get very close to finishing it during the break. It is a book of mediations; something I find myself doing a lot more of as I age. Everyone who has studied here knows we have two dogs we love – Angus and Menlo. If you have been taking classes for a long time, you have met our other dogs, who now rest in the well-maintained dog cemetery overlooking the stream that runs by the house.


I have always interacted with our dogs. I snuggle them; I talk to them; and I take them with me wherever I go. I have found that if my dogs don’t like someone, there is usually a good reason. I have learned that generally the people I don’t warm up to don’t like dogs.  


Above all, I watch our dogs. I study them as they go about their daily lives. I watch them play. I watch them do what they consider their work – their jobs. In watching them, our dogs have taught me a lot, or reconfirmed many of the principals that guide my life. Dogs are generally happy and content, and because I am in many ways like them, I too am a happy and content man.  It took me many decades to achieve peace with myself and with life, but I did. I did it by doing a lot of things dogs do instinctively. It is amazing that they avoid many of the problems that afflict humans. Thus the subject of this book which I title Turn the Other Jowl: What Dogs have Taught me about God.


If I complete this book, I expect to move right on to the next one. This one is comparable to Tuesdays with Morrie. In Tuesdays the author, Mitch Albom visited his friend Morrie as he died of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Through their conversations the author learned many important lessons about the meaning of life and the things that truly matter. My book – with the working title Everyday with Jim will be from the point of view of the caregiver who lives with a “Morrie,” day in, day out. From that proximity and point of view, the caregiver learns even deeper life lessons.


In my book, the role of Morrie is our friend Jim who has been rendered a bedridden invalid by MS. I am the caregiver, who in caring for him has learned how little really matters in this life, and that the little that does matter really matters a lot.


I won’t get this far during the break, but book five in my Young Adult fantasy adventure series is all outlined. I do expect to begin it before 2010 is done. Meanwhile, my search for a literary agent goes on.


During the break, I will complete the tete-a-tete (head-to-head in French) that has been on my bench for the last several classes. It will be the prototype for our first class of the year. I may even get some work done on a prototype of our 2011 new chair class. Right now, that one is a secret. But you’re gonna love it.

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