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When you care enough to flush the very best 

Perhaps the key line to my latest Writers on the Range essay (running here in the Missoula Independent) is, "Now that it's the distant future and the remodel is totally finished…"

The essay covers some experiences from the house remodel we completed 20 months ago. And I needed a bit of distance from a dizzying time period in order to write effectively about it.

The delay is also because I struggled with the ending of the essay. I had a great opening (I wrote that probably 8 to 12 months ago). I had several jokes that amused me. But the greatest essays turn a corner in the last 100 words (or, for longer pieces, in the last 15%). The jokes, anecdotes, and experiences suddenly build to a perhaps-surprising conclusion. And the essay as a whole doesn't work until you know where you're going at the end.

Which is another reason the "distant future…" line is so important. Structurally, it marks the turning of the corner. It may not be one of the most profound corners I've turned. But it is genuine, and after the expenditure of all the money and energy, it even feels earned.

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