WORK IN PROGRESS. I have many of them. Which according to my current calculations should take me until the age of one hundred and fifty-three to complete. Considering the fact that I (like most people) will probably have an unavoidable "appointment with Destiny" by then, one can see why my mind split into so many factions. Sort of a defense mechanism. At any rate, I stumbled onto a viable plan, and it seems to be working for me.

It all began back in my early teaching days, when it was necessary to overcome a very small voice and a huge self-consciousness. How could one get an unruly class to listen when it was impossible to shout over their decibel level? And how could one live with the kind of scrutiny that never failed to notice EXACTLY where you gained a few pounds, or tried to cover something up with make-up, or that you really could use a new pair of shoes? Thus, a cadre of eccentric "visiting teachers" were born that might pop in at any time and totally disrupt working schedules with their own crazy curriculum. It worked for me. How was I to know the longer one leaves on a mask, the harder it is to take off?

These characters continued to follow me long after I left the classroom. They followed me right into my newspaper days and along through my magazine career. When I finally took to writing seriously, my study was entirely too crowded with them and things were getting out of hand. Something had to be done. So, I took a long calculating look at each one and... began delegating responsibilities. For the most part it seems to be working. There are occasions when someone doesn't do their job the precise way I delegated it, or even times when one of them fails to show up. But we deal with it.

Here's how it breaks down:

Ann handles the editing, the web pages, and all the "bread and butter" work it takes to keep the business rolling. Lilly handles the light stuff. Escape reads, humorous mysteries... things like that. Cousins Summer covers the children's and young adult crowd, and the Professor does all our research. The big historicals belong to D. Ann Graham, because there's no playing around with them. She has a habit of disappearing for months at a time, but we all cover for her the best we can. To tell you the truth, the success of the system depends entirely on the ability to keep communications open, which is absolutely vital when so many share the same mind. I admit there have been a few embarrassing mix-ups...

Lilly? Professor? Would any of you like to share? Ah, but I see we've run out of time. Maybe we can take up where we leave off tomorrow. After all, we have work to do.

What's happening on the farm today: A storm rolling in and all the animals are excited and skitterish. A flock of scissortails has descended on the pine berry tree and upset the local residents who live there year-round. But the terrible heat is finally gone and I might even venture outside...

Habit status: Day 2 (I hear it takes two weeks to create one)


Toto, I have a feeling we're not in...

Well, this is the first time I've looked through this window, and there's a lot of stuff out there. Some of it is inspiring. Some is obviously trash. There are also some things that I have absolutely no idea what they are. But I've always been a good observer, so I'll do my best to report exactly what I see.

Today I wanted to answer somebody, and to do so required a user name and password. I thought it was a "not a kook" test. Which I don't mind anymore than I mind being patted down to make sure I'm not carrying any contraband onto airplanes. Surprisingly, all that security doesn't always keep passengers from accidentally getting on the wrong plane. Which is how I ended up here.

Instead of being bounced back to the original blog discussion I wished to participate in, I am suddenly being asked such things as, "What would you like to name your blog?" and "What sort of template do you choose?" Good lord -- I am now a blog owner! And I always said I didn't have time for one of those. I've heard they're like children: you have to feed and care for them daily. You have to be careful what you put into them, too, or they could end up incredibly scrawny and malnutritioned. Which anyone with even half a brain will notice right off because these blog things run absolutely naked through the world. Another responsibility.

Another long item to be added to my writing schedule. I say long because -- from what I can see so far -- it looks like the thing could go on forever. It's not a work in progress, it's a habit. Standing here at this particular moment, it seems it could go in only one of two directions. It could be a good habit, or a bad one.

I think I'll try for good.