That’s the trouble, you see. Here I am starting the 12 Cities, 1 Year tour, and I don’t have the faintest idea how to do it. How do I distill the essence of a city and then write it for you?

Part of the problem is my reluctance to intrude. I’m a bit of a lurker at heart.

But to know a city, you have to meet at least a few of its people. I could, of course, just walk around, take pictures of neighborhoods and farmers markets and powwows and downtown buildings, and that would give you, my readers, a sense of the place. But it feels cowardly to me.

I could describe it for you, but it would be better if locals described it for you.

One local we met suggested we try to get an audience with the mayor. I’ve been thinking about sending an email but still haven’t done it. Honestly, I’d be impressed is a mayor would take the time to meet with us.

I can see that I will need to get out of my comfort zone a little.

Leave A Comment

  1. Rosemary Carstens July 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Beth: One of the TV morning shows used to have a segment where the reporter threw a dart to choose a city, then went there and randomly picked someone from the telephone book to interview. It turned up some fascinating stories and revealed much about the community at the same time–

    Hope you are having fun! Rosemary

  2. Beth Partin July 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Rosemary, that sounds like fun. We’re actually meeting a few people this week, so we’ll have to throw up some posts about that. Hope you’re having a good summer.

  3. Hannah December 21, 2011 at 10:45 am - Reply

    First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Many thanks!

  4. Beth Partin December 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm - Reply


    I’m not certain I do clear my thoughts before writing. I just start doing it and usually find my way through, sometimes faster than others.

    That being said, I haven’t written posts that I planned in advance and wrote outlines for.

    Have you try making a list of things you want to write about? Even just a list of words, for example, that you want to include in your post? Or perhaps you could free-write until something that applies to your topic becomes clear.