Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tugging the Wires

One unexpected pleasure in working with grape vines is that of working with wire. Sunday after pruning I tightened the wires strung along the two grape rows, using a pair of pliers that happened to be in my coat pocket -- the wrong ones, but the ones at hand -- and my bare hands.

When I first strung the wire I was pleased to find how useful certain old pliers are. Picked up in auction batches of old tools, these are various pliers that have no teeth or serrations for gripping: so they bend and turn wire without damaging it, which over the long run might weaken it. One pair -- you might think of a squared duck's bill, to imagine its jaws -- is especially good for twisting two strands together.

I use steel posts to support the wire, something that may need to change, at some point. So far, though, it seems adequate, even though it means the upper wire is not as high as might be desired.

This morning I was wrestling with the structure of my current book -- doing my best to stretch the supporting wires taut, as it were. Had I known at the beginning of writing the book what I now understand, I might not have to struggle so, in tugging it into a somewhat straight line. Yet it seems never the case that you understand what to do until you are done doing it. (Which is a thought that, this year, calls to mind my raising the southeast porch of the house, which was sagging. By the time I truly knew what I was doing, the job was done. I could undo it now, and do it again better ... but will I? Ha!)

The grape-support wires sagged last summer under weight of vines and grapes -- and certainly my early structure for my book was inadequate for containing the turnings of ideas and knowledge that I encountered and gained, while actually writing.

Cheers ...

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