Saturday, September 08, 2007


Rode my bike from my house to mom and dad's this morning. Four and a half pretty miles of narrow, crooked road through corn and soybean fields. Along the Little Blue River. Past a Pop Warner League football field where parents scream at second graders to "get that f'n ball."

Four and a half miles of blue morning sky and deep green leaves. 58 minutes of hard exercise and deep thought. As I pedaled, I thought about something Holly said in an e-mail the other day, something about the color of dirt roads. That got me thinking about the iron in the soil making the dirt red in the Deep South and how the dirt down home doesn't have enough iron to be red.

And suddenly, I knew I need to change a line in the passage about dirt roads. That instead of describing them as worn-out, I need to use the word anemic, because that's what they are--anemic: lacking in iron.

To me, finding that one better word felt like finding a gold nugget in a shaker pan of pebbles.

This is the richness of a writer's life, the space where the dots of a comment from a friend and a morning bike ride connect up with something from 5th grade science class to create a moment of clarity.

I LOVE this life.


Amber said...

Yes. That is good. Yes!


Carrie Wilson Link said...

I know just what you mean!

Deb said...

I can relate totally! The joy of the perfect word that is so much more than a word.

holly said...

So glad to be of service.

And I know just what you mean about the perfect word! Love that feeling.

Kim said...

What a great celebration of the writing life.

This is an absolute gem:
"To me, finding that one better word felt like finding a gold nugget in a shaker pan of pebbles. "

kario said...

There is just something so wonderful about letting yourself go in the process of riding your bike and breathing. That is so often when the perfect word comes to me, too. Thanks for the reminder!

Jess said...

I love how much you love these things, and love life. :)

And I love finding perfect words, too. Totally get it. Yes.

And, god, I miss my bike.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Awesome Jerri!

Stacy said...

it is amazing how exhilarating it is to find the right word, really right word, anemic soil ha!