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I worry about small things. Children. Weeds. A crack in the plaster of the wall in my family room. The violet plant that is not thriving. The cross I bought at a most holy place, the Scottish island of Iona, while traveling with my son Rob and dearest friend Helen Russell, a small silver cross I had fingered so often in times of larger worries. I lost it three or four years ago while visiting that same son, but I still worry about that cross. Under what clump of dirt or behind what box does it lie unseen and forsaken?

My worrying is well-balanced, however, with non-worrying. I do not worry, for example about things that are concerning, rightly so, to other people. I don't worry, for example, about the detritus accumulating on the floor mats of my car or its need for a bath, or the need to replace bathroom rugs or upgrade towels; they're fine, for now, I say to myself. I don't worry about storing food (quite temporarily) in my refrigerator on a plate, rather than tucking it snugly away in a plastic container with a tight lid. I'll either eat it or throw it away, nothing to worry about there.

But every day, as a writer, I worry whole-heartedly about certain other small things. Commas. Colons, both full and semi. Misplaced modifiers. The length of a sentence, the placement of a prepositional phrase, these can occupy long periods of worrying. I worry about (seriously) my unseemly fondness for adverbs.

Actually, I have devoted happily and joyfully (see what I mean about the adverbs?) much of my life to making the minute, delicate and worrisome decisions about content, organization, syntax, and punctuation that good writing requires. Right now that focus is the book I've been working on for two years, a biography on Dr. George F. Bass, widely considered the father of underwater archaeology.

So, thanks for joining me here! -- know that when all is "said and done" ... probably sooner... I'll be back!


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