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18: the order of things

Updated: May 5

Dear Friend,

No matter when you read this, I hope that you are doing well.   


refresh with deep breaths and cool water to sip,

may simply-good things bring a smile to your lips


If you count the days from the first day of Spring to the first day of Summer and do a tiny bit of math, you will see that today is the day that marks the Very Middle of Spring!


It just so happens that this is an important day in the life of a character in one of my stories. She’s a prominent, texture-y figure, a giant presence, a bee, in fact, the Queen.


‘The Queen was a baby before you were born, she was raised on the succulent flowers of corn and the pollen of clover and dandelion fluff, as princess bees always are fed the best stuff…’


That description was given by an Aibrum, a creature in the Land of Beyond that cannot lie and only speaks in rhyme. Not to confuse matters, but please remember that what is true for you might not be true for others and vise-versa. Still, you can trust an Aibrum to tell you the truth.


Stuff about the Queen,’ was a story that I wrote when I was 30 years old, which began my adventure into writing Beyond the Weakened Thread. Twenty years later, ‘Stuff about the Queen’ became Chapter 57. Chapters fell into place as the puzzle of my story came together.


I remember the warm spring day that I wrote what would become the first line of my book, Beyond the Weakened Thread. Little did I know that the book would have 63 chapters. I didn’t have a plan, I had a story.


As you already know, when you write a book, you don’t actually have to start by writing the first line of the first chapter.


I had written quite a bit of my story already when I decided to write on a matter of great importance, the Queen’s situation after she left her hive for the first time.


Specifically, I wanted to explain what happened after the last line of the initial story, ‘Stuff about the Queen…’ Here’s that last line:

And as if she’d just realized the creature she was,

she tried out her wings and flew off, just because.


Yep, as shocking as it was, there she went, but what happened next?


I picked up my pencil that morning and wrote several dozen pages into my notebook starting with this line, ‘It was the morning of the day that marked the very middle of spring and although it felt like teatime, it wasn’t even noon.’ And then, as I worked with the layout of my book, that sentence became the first line, and subsequent pages, the first chapter.


Throughout the twenty years it took me to write her story, I am sort of embarrassed to admit that I left the Queen (and many other characters) in peril (often for months at a time) while I attended to my own life and living – if you’ve ever met her, it might surprise you to learn that she has, actually, approved the tale.


Have you written a book? Do you have one in mind to write? You might already know how you’d approach that project. If you ask authors about their process, you’ll see that everyone has a different way to order such an undertaking. Some people have strict schedules and actually do try to cover a predetermined topic for each chapter, writing one chapter at a time, some within a regimented time-frame. Some people don’t plan.

Is there an order of things when there isn’t a plan? We’re all so different!


What ties us together is our willingness and ability to share. We can share stories or scientific information, humor, math, shoulder shrugs, funny faces, so many things, too many to list!


Do you read books? How do you decide which book to read? Do you read the back of the book first or maybe skim the table of contents? Do you ever buy books based on the cover image? Do you read reviews before buying? Maybe you don’t ever buy a book, maybe you visit the library instead.


No matter how you acquire a book to read, you’re still a reader.

And, not everyone reads a book from beginning to end. I know of several very well-read readers that begin at the last chapter and read the book by skimming the main bits of each chapter until they reach the beginning.


If there is a proper order of things, it’s entirely possible that their order might be different from yours though neither of you is wrong.


So if there can be so many different orders to things, what happens when you need to teach someone how to do something?  


What if you had to teach a child to tie a shoe? If you teach step by step, there is an order to the steps, right? But are ‘the order of things’ the same?


Here is a classic Sesame Street song, Tying Your Shoelace that I’ve used to help kids of all ages become shoe-tiers.  

And here’s another way to teach lace-tying. How to Tie Shoe Laces.

No matter how you learn to tie your shoes, the result is pretty much the same, your shoes wear a happy bow.


These days, some kids have velcro-closing shoes, some just have slip-ons, and, for a lot of kids, the urgency to learn to tie simply doesn’t exist.


Is it evolution? Is it possible that because kids don’t learn to tie their shoes, they look to home delivery when buying pre-made furniture?  (That way, they don’t have to worry about buying rope or straps for tying down the lumber with which to build the furniture… because they don't know how to tie). I’m kind of kidding.


If you’ve never had the experience of tying down a load (onto a car or a truck) then when or if you ever need to, it is a good idea to practice well ahead of time. (By law, in some states, commercial loads require using specific ratchet straps, but, across the board, knowing how to use rope is a helpful basic)! Here’s a quick video if you are interested in learning more:


I’m lucky that I’ve been able to work with my brother on lots of DIY projects. One of the many skills I’ve learned from him is how to tie down a load of lumber and other cargo with rope and also with strap tie-downs to ensure that the load is safe and secure in all sorts of traffic. This knowledge has come in handy too many times to count. Many thanks to my little brother!


And as always, we’re grateful that you care to be here to read Tracks by the Post. Thank you for checking in! Please don’t hesitate to write to us and recommend a book, share about shoelaces or stories about tying down cargo or maybe lumber with which to build a bunkbed for your dog and cat.


: )


Next time, we are looking forward to sharing another music/video collaboration! Have a wonderful week!


Gently Be,

Leslie and Frank


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