SOLC 2020: Day 30: Draft Diving—Mowing the Lawn


March 2020 SOLC–Day 30
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

The well is running dry for daily slices as the month draws to a close and remote learning takes on a life of its own. Most years, at some point during the challenge, I resort to draft diving. I have quite a pile of saved drafts on my blog (127!), ranging from a line or two or a photo to a nearly complete post. Today, I dove in,  revisiting posts from long ago when life seemed so much simpler. (Oh! If only I’d appreciated it then!) Eventually, I pulled up a piece I’d started last summer about mowing the lawn, and finished it off to share it today.

Last summer, I read Amanda Pott’s slice, “Driving Greens“. She talked about following Rob Walker’s strategy of observation–essentially observing 10 things about the world without using metaphors. She then demonstrated how to beautifully do that on her road trip. I thought I’d try it while mowing the lawn. It didn’t work as well.

  1. I hold my breath when I yank the cord to start the lawnmower. When it starts on the first pull, I let out my breath.
  2. Lawn mowers are loud. I wonder how well electric lawn mowers work. I should look into that.
  3. Freshly mown grass smells amazing. But, wait a minute! I just finished reading Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl and she talks about the signals that trees send each other when they’re stressed. VCOs or VOCs. Is all that wonderful smell really grass screaming?
  4.  The sun is bright and it’s hot out here. It’s very hard to think without metaphors. For example, I keep thinking, When I finish mowing, I’ll be a human salt lick.
  5. Mowing words into the lawn takes a lot of extra time and isn’t nearly as much fun as I’d hoped.
  6.  Nature has its way. It’s constantly edging in. The limits of the lawn move closer to the house unless I relentlessly press those boundaries out every time I mow. The vegetation is poised to take over.
  7. Blackberry bushes are especially invasive.
  8. While I don’t think I’m particularly bloodthirsty, killing horseflies is immensely satisfying. Whack! YES!
  9. I’m back to thinking about how loud the lawn mower is. If it’s that loud to me, is it that loud to insects? Am I deafening moths and crickets?
  10. Even when you try hard to feel positive about mowing the lawn, it’s still a lot of hot, sticky work. In other words, you still have to mow the lawn.

5 thoughts on “SOLC 2020: Day 30: Draft Diving—Mowing the Lawn

  1. dianeandlynne says:

    “Is that wonderful smell really grass screaming?” Your mind works in mysterious ways!
    You are right; it is hard not to think (and write) without metaphors. Good thing we don’t have to.


  2. Debbie Lynn says:

    This is a wonderful idea. In fact, I’ve read that the things we remember most are those we observed with our senses- without the use of cameras, pencils… Though, I really love your ‘salt lick’ metaphor! 🙂


  3. margaretsmn says:

    Mowing the lawn is not my job. That’s what I told my husband when I married him. So I’ve never done it. And probably never will. I do like that fresh cut smell. Believe it or not, the first mow was a few weeks ago. Your rambling thoughts are fun to read. Makes me want to steal the idea.


  4. Amanda Potts says:

    Oh my goodness – I remember trying to do this & it is HARD. I laughed at the places your mind went: apparently mowing the lawn is pretty violent in your world – screaming grass, deafened moths and dead horseflies. This *almost* makes me glad that it’s still cold & damp up here.


  5. Leigh Anne Eck says:

    First of all, I love the idea of draft diving! But my…127 of them! I’ve never really thought about thinking without metaphors. Hmm…I might have to try this. Was the draft you started without metaphors or did this happen during revision?


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