The Intolerable Case of the In-betweens

I’ve got a bad case of the in-betweens.I am:

  • in-between draft 2 and draft 3 of the sequel. (Or sequel 2.5 as I like to call it).
  • in-between the miracle of signing a publishing contract and the workload that follows.
  • in-between aspiring and achieving.

And I’m restless. I crave that unrelenting drive to write that typically fuels me. I miss the insomnia and the sugar cravings and constant caffeine buzz and the days that speed by as if God were holding down the fast forward button.

I hate the in-betweens. Always have.

“Slow down, Juliann!” My dad would tell me when I was a kid, tearing through the house like a Tasmanian devil going from one master plan to another. I tried to obey and slow my thoughts or movements, but the pace was torture. There were space ships to build from refrigerator boxes in the garage and trees to climb and squirrels to tame and (you get the idea). But as I get older I realize that my dad was probably a whole lot smarter than I gave him credit for back when I was a know-it-all pain in the butt.

Dad was born on a farm in Southern Minnesota. He possessed the quiet reserve and blond hair of a Norwegian farmer. He’s been gone for almost ten years now, but there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of him. Some of my favorite memories are of our Sunday drives through the countryside after church. I tolerated them because they usually wound up at the Dairy Queen where I got a lime Mr. Misty and besides, Dad knew everything about the farms and fields and sometimes he told cool stories about his childhood. Like the time he was chased through a cornfield by a goat or how he trained a chicken to attack the mailman or his imaginary friend named Nils who did all the naughty things Dad would never have dreamt of doing. Good stuff. He had a million stories like that.

But today, as I am stuck in the in-between, it’s not the stories of goats or chickens or naughty Nils that I’m thinking about. I’m remembering one particular day when we drove by a field that looked like this.


“What’s growing there?” I asked because my curiosity knew no bounds.

“That field is farrow.” Dad only had to glance out the window to know the answer. He was cool like that.

“What’s farrow? It’s not like lima beans, is it?” I’m sure I crinkled my nose. There was no culinary crime worse than lima beans in my kid imagination. I blame Judith Viorst and her book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. 

“It means the farmer is giving that field time to rest.”

“That’s stupid.” Yeah, I was that kid.

“No, that’s necessary.” My dad sighed and went into a lengthy explanation about soil depletion and how good farmers let their fields rest so that they will be even more fertile in time. To me this sounded like blah, blah, blah, we are never going to go to the Dairy Queen and I really want my lime Mr. Misty! 

I wish Dad were here with me right now in this in-between time so I could tell him he was right. Fertile fields do get tired and depleted. They do need to rest. They do need to be fallow for awhile . . . but they don’t have to like it.

And then I’d buy him a Mr. Misty at the Dairy Queen.


Stuck in the in-between and thinking about my dad.



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