I’ve mentioned previously that I cut an annual autumn maze. What I didn’t mention is that the last couple of years, I’ve used a secret theme.
It’s hard to invent a wholly new labyrinth each year without being repetitive, so one year I chose an usual word from a book title, a word I figured no one would recognize, and used it as the basis for my maze. It seemed to work pretty well, the maze was reported properly twisty — the word was kitsune — and no one realized they were actually walking through connected letters.
That became my private joke. Half of the maze was bizarre swirls and winding paths, meant to draw out the younger kids but not lose them, and half was a series of interlinked passages based on some personal literary reference. But last year, I was found out, thanks to Google Earth. My mother, who with my father owns the field in which the maze is cut, was looking up her property’s aerial view for some reason and realized the map had been updated after I’d done my maze.
I have to say, while this was one of my simplest mazes, I’m pretty proud of that layout. Keep in mind I’m cutting through prairie grass and wildflowers up to six feet tall, well over my head on the mower, so my visibility is limited to a dozen feet or so. I matched those lines and lined up letters just by a general feel for distance and direction. Came out pretty well! Hard to say if it sold any copies of Con Job to passing pilots, though.
This year, while I’ve had a number of short stories come out (and a few are still working through the 2015 pipeline), I haven’t released a book on its own, and so I confess I’m a bit stuck for a title reference to mow. Hmm…..