Precursor to “The Morning Porch”

Indexing my Butternut Chronicle series from November 2004/1998, I was amused to rediscover what I had written by way of an Afterword:

In [the butternut tree’s] absence, I don’t know that I could really gather enough material for a daily front porch chronicle. I have of course recorded a number of observations in these virtual pages, and someday there might be enough to gather into a small chapbook. But the gap between the porch and the edge of the woods is too large – about 75 feet – for close observation of whatever goes on there, and I don’t like using binoculars.

Ha! It does show, however, that the idea’s been brewing for a while now — since 1998, at least. In the Afterword I also speculated about why that early journaling attempt had run out of steam so quickly, suggesting that it was because the focus was too diffuse, and I should have zeroed in on the butternut tree and its inhabitants.

The relative longevity of my current project, however, probably owes more to the brevity of the entries than to the temporal focus. It’s like running a marathon in daily, 50-yard-dash installments. And with that brevity — strictly enforced by Twitter — comes a reliance on lyrical touches, because how else to make such miniatures compelling? I’m still not much of a journal-keeper — not compared to someone like Tom Montag with his Morning Drive Journal, for example, which is in its fifth year now, with entries that are neither unlyrical nor Minuteman-short. Ah, well. Fortunately, this race is not to the swift. The one that is — well, may the best rat win.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

6 Comments


  1. Wow, I really enjoyed reading through your chronicles, Dave, a fuller version of your present Morning Porch, and something from before I got to know your blog. It certainly is interesting how we do revisit old interests, even subconsciously. You’ve done an amazing job putting all this together on your present blog configuration.

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  2. i find it fascinating that you found an earlier “reference” to a project that hadn’t begun (yet). and it’s encouraging that even if we have no accessible memory about an idea (i often consider lost ideas gone forever), they may leave bread crumbs. that’s good news!

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  3. marja-leena – You read the whole series? Bless you.

    What’s interesting too is that my original impulse to record observations from my front porch was almost exactly ten years before the start of the Morning Porch. What is it about November?

    carolee – It’s funny, but Ive always considering lost ideas to remain accessible to my subconcious, so I’ve never worried much about forgetting a good idea. On the other hand, I think that’s a bad attitude for a writer to have, because it removes a sense of urgency to get stuff down. Without the (mild) pressure that blogging supplies, I’d hardly write anything.

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  4. Without the (mild) pressure that blogging supplies, I’d hardly write anything.

    Dave, me too. For those of us who crave feedback and would feel way too lonely writing a book and having to wait months or years before getting feedback—blogging has been a great boon to writing productivity.

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  5. You said it! I think I have the perfect combination of traits to be a blogger: I’m an exhibitionist, but I’m also a loner. :)

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  6. The tinyness, the lack of gravity, but still worthwhile — it is like those paper things that Japanese pilgrims leave at shrines. I’m sure you’ve seen them: paper gumwrapper chains, the origami swallows, etc.

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