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You know that old saying about how a duck works — calm and still in the visible part, but paddling like heck down below? Well, that’s how I’ve been the last couple of weeks. I’ve been quiet on this blog, on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere, because I’ve been focusing on a couple of projects that have taken a lot of time and concentration.

There’s the next book, which is rounding the turn toward home at last, and I’m very excited about that. You hit a moment when things start coming together, when the plot threads that you put down months ago in earlier chapters finally start tying up, and it’s an exciting passage that makes all the groaning of earlier months feel worthwhile. Still some distance to travel, but the finish line is in view.

I’ve also been working on my presentation for the Ozarks Cultural Symposium, which is next week in West Plains. I was honored this year to be asked to be the keynote speaker. I’m hoping to live up to that honor with a talk that will also draw together a lot of the threads of thought that I have about the Ozarks, its image, and its representation in creative culture.

If you’re near the West Plains area, you should definitely come to this symposium! It’s put on every year by the branch campus of Missouri State University there, and they always draw a wonderfully diverse group of presenters from Missouri, Arkansas, and elsewhere. It’s interdisciplinary and includes creative presenters (poetry, music, fiction, etc.) as well as scholarly ones.