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Saturday, 17 September 2011

I hear the crunching of gears inside my head. I had today all planned out – had my bag packed for a walk along Leander Creek and a chance to see this log house down where it joins the Niobrara – but I awoke to grey skies, a cool wind and talk of rain on the radio. Out there it’s sort of spitting, not very encouraging at all. So that’ll have to wait until after I’ve been to Chadron. I head that way tomorrow morning. The talk by Yvonne Sandoz has been re-scheduled for Crawford, out by Fort Robinson, so I’ll have to leave here fairly early. Then I’m staying at the Olde Main overnight and looking in at the Sandoz Center Monday.  Last time I visited I was given a comprehensive Finding Aid, so I’m drawing up a list of the folders I’d like to look at up there. It may be half a day’s work; it could be three or four days, so I think I’ll take my tent and be prepared to camp at the State Park.
Yesterday I telephoned the courthouse at Valentine and learned that I can just show up there and rummage in the land registry. So that’s another trip to fit in, perhaps next week. I’ll be drawing up a list of names and locations I want to check on. I guess I’ll start with the claims on the Snake river by Hedvig Arent’s brothers Julius and Peter, also her mother’s claim, and of course her husband’s (i.e., this one). I’ve also been asked to look up Keevin’s parents’ claims, which may have been made under the Kinkaid act.

So, plenty to occupy me. Meanwhile, the book manuscript is taking shape. I have managed to re-edit the two-weeks-old version I was left with after losing the latest one the other day, and am quite pleased with what I’ve achieved. The odd part has been constantly adding new material day by day, yet constantly trimming a passage her, erasing a line there, and maintaining the overall length at 90,000 words. And, of course, there’s that crucial beginning, which I have re-drafted numerous times. I think I’m getting there, but of course you can never really be sure what your opening needs to say until you are certain of where and how you end. The challenge now is to start writing some concluding, reflective passages at the same time as recording the final day-to-day developments. Once I leave here I really doubt that I’ll have more than the odd moment to dedicate to this project.

The other thing that’s on my mind now is, what do I do about this blog once I’ve left the red house? I have no idea. Do I close it, seal it and consign it to ‘time capsule’ status? Do I update it occasionally? Or do I glide smoothly into a different type of blog about life back in the UK? Modern life, eh? It gets complicated. I suspect I’ll shut this down; it will have served its purpose. If I have the urge to continue blogging it’ll be under another heading.

Well, I think today’s going to be another one like yesterday: writing, editing, scrabbling through books and papers. But… priorities: this is Saturday, so all that can wait until after I’ve gone and got the football scores.

Aha! York City 3-0 up at the leaders. Feels good.