The search for a narrative recipe that works

I'm back in Seattle and just dropped my mother-in-law off at SeaTac - the value of her help in taking care of our daughter and keeping the homefront under control in my absence is impossible to quantify. The cliche` about "it takes a village to raise a child" certainly applies when one of that child's parents needs to get out of Dodge for a mental stretch - I really couldn't do the work I'm doing without that sort of help. So now I'm back, digesting what I found along the way. I put 1800 miles on a rented Hyundai criss-crossing a wide swath of Iowa and Wisconsin (with just a toe tap into Illinois). For anyone who spends enough time on the road in pursuit of what often they alone hope to be a grand story, I'm sure the revelation is not surprising that the places in between the places on the itinerary really spin the web upon which to hang a narrative. Without being able to fill in too much detail, I must still say that this was a singularly valuable trip for me. I talked extensively about the science, politics, statistics, culture and back breaking work of agribusiness. Hours and hours of interviews remain for me to parse and digest. But the overall takeaway is obvious. Planning leads to insight. Insight - in turn, I hope - leads to good output. Output provides the foundation. And in the case of this project, the foundation is what you need to build something new. Seattle is a long ways from almost everywhere I visited over the past week+ - both physically and metaphorically speaking. I'm nonetheless grateful that I've now got at least some of that insight that I'll use to flavor the recipe I've got in mind for this book. In so many ways, the grind begins anew. Then mix, taste test, add the flavor, and taste test again. To mix the metaphor completely - that's how the good sausage gets made. Not that I know anything about making (aside from cooking) sausage. Mmmm...sausage (drool).