Thursday, June 24, 2010

Picking up the vegetables

Wednesdays are CSA days. She drives to the farm with her bags, picks up the week's produce from a structure that has yet to be roofed, while the gingerbread boys feed the goats grass they pluck from the edge of the fencing.

This week: swiss chard, scallions, garlic scapes, beets, mesclun, red lettuce, green lettuce. Driving down the pitted dirt road back home, she realizes how similar farming is to writing. The work is never done. There's always something to do.

The soil preparation. The plowing. The seeding. The composting. The praying for rain and sunshine. The weeding, the pruning.

It's all the same.

The outlining. The research. The character building. The world building. The praying for inspiration. The revision.

Does the farmer get discouraged like she does? Does it rain when he wants sun? Does the sun shine down in harsh rays when he hopes for rain? Do his seeds rot in the ground? Are his plants overrun with slugs the way her brain feels overrun with slugs?

Hm.

She turns off the dirt road back onto the paved road, and continues the drive home, the gingerbread boys plotting what we'll eat first.*

She could only wish the fruits of her cerebral farming were as crisp as what she picks up each week.


*Garlic scape pesto, red leaf lettuce salad with scallions.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Take me out to the ball game

Irritation flows through her veins. She reads something peaceful in hopes that she can blow the stink off, as Great-Aunt Julia used to say. It doesn't work. She takes a walk. She takes a shower afterward. She's still irritated. No, she's no longer irritated, she's downright mad. She wants to drop-kick something.

She doesn't though. She makes lunch, she washes the dishes, she takes the gingerbread boy to the doctor's, she reads books to him.

After dinner, the gingerbread boys beg to play baseball.

She takes the whiffle ball in hand and steps up to the pitcher's mound--an uneven spot in the driveway, formerly marked by a chalk circle. She tosses the ball, again and again, as little arms discover the joy of bat connecting with ball.

And, then, only then, does the stink blow away, thrown with the whiffle ball, and hit far into the outfield.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

False Starts

Where to begin? Begin at the beginning, she thinks. But when is the beginning? Chapter one is the beginning. She looks down at her hands, hands at rest upon the keyboard, hands that grow old. Hands that should be typing. What should be in chapter one?

The beginning.

The skin on her hands no longer looks taut. It looks like well-worn linen. When did that happen? When was the beginning of the end? With her first breath decades ago, did the aging process start? Or was it when she found her first grey hair at 21? Or when "anti-wrinkle" anything became a permanent fixture in the bathroom cabinet? When she began taking calcium to fend off osteoporosis?

The end is so much clearer than the beginning, she thinks.

She tells her hands to type. When they move so fast at the keyboard, she doesn't notice their similarity to linen. Perhaps by the end, she will know where the beginning is.