How to Write a Book
Hertz called this morning as I was running around finishing an obituary and packing for Juneau. I have to be at the ferry at 11am, and then will join Sarah and Brian to wait for the baby. She is due today.(!) So, as I am rushing around Hertz called. I said "what can I do for you?" And he said " Nothing much. Just tell me how to write a book." I was in a hurry, as I said, so I asked if it was fiction or non-fiction. He said it was about his life. Hertz has seen a UFO, and died and come back to life, more than once I think. (He is an electrician and was a logger. He did the Polar Bear swim too. That's heart stopping.) I thought a minute, as I switched my laundry from the washer to the dryer, and said: "Write the most important story or event first. And don't explain what happened in your life before that time. Begin in the middle. Then write the next most compelling story, until you have 12. Then, take a look at them and see how they fit together. The last might be first, the first one might be last. Then fix them up, and make any connections you might need in order for it all to make sense." Hertz said "that's it?" "Yes," I told him, "that's it." What I didn't say was that writing a book also takes fairy dust, the grace of God, electricity, chemistry, hope, faith, courage, patience, a sense of humor, and a lot of coffee.