In the Homestead Acts (1860s–), farmers were granted a quarter section; a section was 640 acres, a quarter section was 160 acres, and the quarter section was itself subdivided into four quarter-quarter sections of 40 acres each: two front forty and two back forty. (wiktionary.org)
When I use the term ‘back 40’, I’m referring to that region of your mind (and psyche) relatively unknown to you, where thought and inspiration collide to form new dreams, brew wonderful stories and enact great plays. It’s the place from which I summon solutions when I’m stuck, when there are pieces on the page that need re-assembling or when characters have delivered perspectives not yet incorporated into the story arc. Sooner than later, solutions appear, pushed forward by their clarity into the light of my work day, that hail from the back 40.
That’s how the story grows into its potential with new found depth and dimension and how it brings me along, when words stream onto the page that make the reader eager for more.
“You must write every single day of your life…You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days.
And out of that love, remake a world.”
~ Ray Bradbury