Tag Archives: Garden

Time to Reflect

I have taken the summer off. I’ve biked, hiked, knitted, hassled, fretted, sweated, gardened and napped.

Now the harvest is coming in hot and heavy and soon I’ll be putting food aside for the winter (already have lots and lots of applesauce, raspberries and rhubarb in the freezer for morning oatmeal), and I’m eager to get back to writing.

I recently wrote about the value of lying fallow. This has been a good time for me. For certain, I still write, but what I’m writing has more to do with posts and blogs and copy for Wordcrafters’ variety of literary events. I now need to get back to my personal work.

So this morning, I tallied what I have that is incomplete, but still holds my heart. This exercise was both gratifying and horrifying.

  • Four novels – first drafts complete, awaiting rewrites.
  • Three novels – first drafts in process.
  • Two novels – outlined and ready to go.
  • Four nonfiction books in various states of completion.
  • I also deleted a few fits and starts that no longer interest me.

When I decided to take a few months off, I was convinced that I had exhausted my creativity, that I really didn’t have anything new to say. Today, I look at my list and I am excited to prioritize and get busy, mostly because I have a whole batch of new ideas popping up in my head every day. Clearly, however, I need to finish something before starting something new.

I participated in NaNoWriMo last year (National Novel Writing Month – Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days), and that was not only great fun, but it helped move forward a project that had been languishing. I only wish I had come to it better prepared, as I ended up with a very messy first draft. My first drafts are usually untidy, but not this ugly. So this November, I will work on one that I have already outlined. Between now and then, I intend to complete one of the novels awaiting rewrites.

My self-imposed hiatus lasts until mid-September.

I wonder if I can wait that long to get started.

 

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Filed under My New Novel, National Novel Writing Month, Possibilities, Summer, Writing

My Summer Kitchen

My kitchen is a mess in the summer. Always. The floor has bits of dried leaves and things that all three of us (husband, dog, me) track in from the garden, the countertop always has some dirt-filled things, like garlic drying or onions. Right now there is a bowl of raspberries left over from breakfast, to be snacked on until they’re gone (before lunch).  Soon, I hope, the perpetual bowl of tomatoes will be there.

We live as much outside as inside during the summer, and while my winter kitchen is spotless and everything is in its place, the summer kitchen tends to be a riot of seeds,  plants, and rooting cuttings, compost for the worm bin and on and on and on.  Sometimes it bugs me, and I get busy, cleaning, cleaning, but the next day it’s back to its normal summer state. And I guess I’m growing to love it.

When the tomatoes are over, the pickles are in the pantry, the rest of the produce in the freezer, my kitchen will again be clean and ready for the winter. And then I’ll miss the chaos, and I’ll miss my summer kitchen.

Meanwhile, I’m kind of enjoying the mess.

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Filed under Gardening, Summer

Everybody’s got to be somewhere

It’s going to be 76 degrees today at home. My garden is full of weeds. I’ve got flats of plants and flowers that need to be potted up or put into the ground. it has been cold and rainy for weeks and both the garden and I are behind on all exterior maintenance. I need to be on my bike, working off the winter potatoes and rice. The dog needs to go to the dog park and run off her excess winter pounds, too.

Instead, I’m out at the coast, at the Ghost Story Weekend. I’ll get home Sunday afternoon, just in time to mow the lawn before the rains start again on Monday. We have guests arriving soon, staying for a week.

Clearly, it was difficult to pull myself away from home yesterday afternoon. These chores in the garden are my joy, not work.

But then I picked up Bill Smee, and we had a stimulating conversation all the way out to Florence, Oregon. Now I’m here with ten other writers, each of us crafting a short story that will scare, horrify, romance, tittilate or amuse each other, and hopefully eventually, the reading public.

I woke up this morning and looked out over the lake, listened to the loons calling each other in the crisp air, watched ducks make their smooth waked landings on the glassy surface. Woodpeckers were having at the tree right in front of my cabin.

Home and garden seems a long way away, because truthfully, there’s no place I’d rather be than hanging with other writers, all of us socially inappropriate for the most part, yet kin when it comes to the strangeness we allow ourselves to put down on paper. 

How lucky am I, to have to choose between two things that I dearly love?

The houseguests will just have to understand.

This weekend, I’m writing.

Right now, I’m at Ghost Story Weekend, and I’m happy to be here.

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Filed under Friends, Gardening, Ghost Story Weekend, Short Stories, Writing