Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Open Season

I got home last night around 8:30. (Side note: I drive an hour from home to see a Christian chiropractor. So I did some shopping while I was in Canton after work, but amazingly I drove by our closest Starbucks without stopping.) In the yard were six female deer and one buck, nibbling on my neighbor's baby pine trees. And that is just a fraction of the gatherings that have taken place in the fields around my house. I've counted as many as 32 deer in one gathering.

It is open gun season in Ohio this week. This is big stuff. School was still out on Monday. Hunters come from the city and from other states to fill up local hotels. Restaurants like McDonald's open around 4 am to accommodate them. They have open access to government land around our many conservation lakes, but most farmers also give permission to hunt that continues for generations of hunters.

I saw an interesting site the other day. A compact car passed me with just enough of its trunk raised that I could see antlers out one side and hooves out the other. I admit I'd rather see a deer in someone's trunk than smeared across two lanes of highway. If a hunter will use what he shoots, then I say go for it. Venison is probably one of the healthiest meats one can eat -- no preservatives, no drugs, raised on an all natural diet. (I have some in my freezer.)

On Monday, our county had the most tagged deer for the state at 1,858 (over 39,000 for the whole state). You could say hunting is cruel and uncivilized behavior, but as I see it, hunting is a necessary part of life. Deer around here really have no predator (because of expanding civilization), and they are thriving on cornfields and fertilized lawns. We don't have enough coyotes to impact the herds. The main predator is our cars, and the carnage is ugly and wasteful.

We can wax eloquently about the deer's beauty and the peace it brings just watching them grace the hillsides, but the reality of a growing problem is always looming.

Authors have a similar problem with beautiful things -- adjectives and descriptive phrases. They are beautiful words that can add life to writing. BUT, when they multiply in a work, they become a nuisance and drag down the quality of the whole story.

Challenge: Take a look at what you are currently writing. What beautiful words are you hanging onto just for beauty's sake? Are they really poisoning the effect of what you are trying to say? Are readers going to be so distracted by the descriptors that they miss the point of the action?

Are you trying too hard to avoid oft-used descriptors like "he said" or "she sat" that your writing is getting overloaded with awkward verbiage? "Hello," he spoke softly as he smiled gently. Or -- She lowered herself into the chair, leaning against the carved backrest and crossing her legs.

It is hard to let go of beautiful creations, but we must face reality as we go through life. For it is when we are realistic about what we have been given and good stewards of it that we can thrive with God's blessing.

Happy hunting,

[Photo borrowed from the WWW.]


Annie said...

T-county--we're no. 1!!

Mary said...

Becky, That's a beautiful entry. You guys are doing a great job with this blog. Mary Connealy