What Remains Undone

My messy book closet. June 6, 2013.

You can count on me to set goals and aim hard to hit them.

Yet for years, I’d neglected one of the biggest life goals I’ve ever had.

I needed prompting to right my course.

A couple years back at the holidays, quite apropos of nothing, my father asked, “Leslie, how’s the great American novel coming?”


“Oh, Dad. I haven’t written anything in years. Not fiction, anyway. Focused on other things, I guess.”

He pondered that for a minute. He remembered what I always wanted to be when I grew up.

And he replied, “If you never write a novel, that’d be a shame. It’s what you’ve always wanted to do.”

For Christmas, he gave me a bunch of books about writing. But he didn’t say anything more.

The exchange got me thinking. Did writing still matter to me? Did I, in fact, even still, with two wonderful businesses growing and so little time on my hands, want to write? If I never wrote a novel, would I care, looking back?

And I realized:

Yes. Yes, I would care. Very much.

So that novel? On the goal list for 2013. The objective is not to have something ready for prime time. I just plan to have the very first, very rough draft.

And so far, I’m on track to hit my target. (Though finding the time and the focus has proved challenging!)

What have you said you’d do for years—and haven’t?

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Reader Comments (4)

You rock Leslie! That book is coming along! You're doing it! :) To Leslie's Dad: Way to encourage her!

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Thanks in great part to your support and encouragement, Sarah! Best writing accountability partner EVER! :D

June 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

Oh yes. The "Great projects" file. I have one as well. Chief among these is my Historical Atlas of World History from 10,000 B.C. to the common era.

I hope that if I can accurately map out the changes in seacoasts, political boundaries, and the genesis and expansion of ideas then I can reconcile myths, religious records, and historical-archaeological facts and maybe come up with the beginnings of a more accurate timeline of human events that takes into accounts the interactions of all of these.

Not something that one can knock out over a weekend. Just gathering data for the shape of seacoasts 12,000 years ago is proving time consuming and quite frankly it's not thrilling work. I have gone years between sessions of working on this and I don't expect it to be done anytime soon.

But I do think that it is something worthwhile and something that I want to finish one day.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Pora

That sounds like a multivolume encyclopedia, Will! But a truly fascinating one. Perhaps you could put it together in chunks and publish it as a series by subscription? I think it sounds fantastic!

June 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

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