Coming up with ideas to write about can be difficult

By Kay Conklin - Contributing columnist

The split second I hit the “Send” key to send my article to the Delaware Gazette, it’s gone! Then comes the realization that I am in the position of starting all over again to write another article. That’s when I wonder if there really is another subject I could write about that would be considered decent for publication. Once I thought about using the title of “Persons, Places or Things.”

I’ve already written about the person, Dr. Judith Held, who kept after the symptoms of my pain until she got me to the right place and probably saved my life. I’ve also written about the place called the Brown Jug Restaurant and everyone who used to eat there, still misses. And, I have written about the thing that was our cabin George built in the woods. And, just this second, I realized that they are all gone! The Brown Jug building still sits empty, Dr. Held is retired, and the cabin was completely destroyed by intruders and animals.

The most recent thought I had has to do with seeing two containers of pepper, sitting close to each other on my kitchen counter. One pepper container was just purchased recently. It was sitting close to the previous one I had purchased at least eight months ago. I noticed that the top of the lid of the newer one came right to the bottom of the lid of the older one. Separated, they look like the very same size. But, I see that the newer can has 3 ounces, while the older can had 4 ounces. What I was wondering was if I had paid the same price for each of them. I don’t have the receipt from the older one, so I don’t know. I would never have noticed that one was smaller than the other had they not been sitting side by side.

I would like to also mention something about our boxes of green decaffeinated tea. The box used to be packed very tightly with tea bags. But, the latest boxes I have been buying have about a fourth less bags in the same size box. Am I still paying the same price as I was when the I was getting a fourth more tea bags? These two situations remind me of a couple of old “Andy Rooney” shows that were on CBS at the end of “60 Minutes” every Sunday evening. Once he held up a roll of toilet paper and showed that the number of sections in the newly purchased one was a lot less than the previous ones he had purchased. And each was the same price. In a later program, he pointed out that he found that a pound of coffee is no longer a whole pound. The newer can was a little smaller. I am assuming that this is being done to keep the price down, but you are getting less for what you buy at that price. This is probably happening a lot and I need to pay more attention. I should also include the price of different sizes of bags of potatoes. Whether you buy 5 pounds or 8 pounds, they have been the exact same price. I used to think that it was better to take the 8-pound bag, but after several times of doing so, I noticed that the ones at the bottom of the bigger bag were spoiled. Am I not using them up fast enough, or is the smaller bag full of newer potatoes? I’m not sure which, but from now on, I think I will settle for the 5-pound bags. Just one more thing I would like to mention that I have been noticing lately. I see that the slices of bread are getting smaller. The sandwiches you order in a restaurant look the same, but with smaller slices, so you get a smaller sandwich for the same price as when we had larger slices of bread. But, to shine a positive light here, when you buy a dozen eggs there are still 12 eggs in the container, and when you buy a gallon of milk, it still shows it’s a whole gallon.

All of the above ramblings have occurred to me while trying to think up something to write about for my next article.

Another subject I could write about just occurred to me. About 30 years ago, I got the chance to ask a published author of children’s literature how she went about writing all her books. (We met up at my husband’s high school class reunion.) I have never forgotten what she told me. She said that first, you start by writing everything you can think of pertaining to your subject, on pieces of paper. Then, when you read it over, you know you need to tear up at least half of it. (Or even more.) Then, keeping your good part, you get more pieces of paper, write out more on your subject, read that over, and end up tearing up some of what is on those pieces of paper, also. And on and on that way until you are totally satisfied with everything you have left. Thus, you have your book! I have never forgotten those instructions and have incorporated them into my method of writing. For myself, writing is like a big puzzle. First, I “throw” all my words on the computer screen that pertain to the topic I have chosen. Then I start taking out unnecessary sentences, rearranging what is left, and fixing mistakes. I keep doing that until I have all the good parts in the right places where they belong. Then, when I proof it for the last time, and I feel good about all the parts, I know I have finished my article.

Hopefully, one of these days soon, I will come up with a topic that would be good enough for my next article. I hope so, anyway.

By Kay Conklin

Contributing columnist

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.