WRITING WHEN YOUR HEAD’S NOT IN IT

Holy moly, it’s been a long time since I blogged. More than a month! This, in all honesty, is the reason why:

Gus

I had to take Gus in for his neuter. I know, I know: it’s something the vast majority of pet owners do. It’s surgery, but it’s routine. Only, Gus’s wasn’t so much. He had a testicle that didn’t descend, so I really had no idea how it would go. On occasion, if the missing testicle is in the abdomen, it can require some exploratory surgery. (!)

Of course, Little Miss Type A spent more than a month Googling random testicle facts and watching cryptorchid neuters on YouTube. Long story short, the vet did an incredible job, the testicle was easily located, and we wound up with only one incision. Gus has completely recovered, healed beautifully, and is fully back to his zoomie-running, escape artist, silly, rambunctious puppy routine.

Whew.

Once it was all over, I began to feel like I’d finally gotten my brain back.

It really is amazing how worry can hijack your own thoughts–in a way that you don’t even fully realize at the time. It’s not the only emotion that taints a writing session, either. Frustration can. Disappointment. Even uncertainty. I’m a big, BIG believer that tapping into joy is key for good writing. Now, looking back on the last few weeks, I can definitely see how worry was impacting my ability to tap into the joy and fun of writing. And how that was impacting the work.

It’s not the easiest thing to tackle, though, is it? Far easier to carve a few minutes out of the day to get some writing done. You can’t exactly just stop being worried, turn it off so you can work.

All I can say for now is that it’s definitely something I want to pay more attention to, keep track of. Kind of an early 2020 resolution…

FOLK ART – RUSTIC DEER

I see fantastic–truly, fantastic–pieces of folk art all the time, courtesy of classrooms that have recently read THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY.

I wanted to share a little piece of my own folk art. Well, mine and my brother’s, anyway. A deer made out of fallen limbs from the backyard:

…Just in time for the real deer to come trotting down our street! (We see them every fall.)

It didn’t require the use of a welding torch, but I like to think Auggie and Gus would like this little yard sculpture.

WRITING AIN’T GARDENING

IMG_0450This week, we tackled the garden at the Schindler house. It’s always such a joy to get outside, especially after a long, cold winter. As much as I love my work, it’s also a joy to get away from the computer for a little while, get my fingers in the dirt.

 

 

I think the other thing about gardening that has a definite appeal to a writer is that it kind of just takes off on its own. Once you get it in the ground, it does most of the work for you. All you have to do is make sure it gets plenty of water and the bunnies don’t have access (hence the elaborate plastic walls around ours this year–since taking that pic, I’ve also added pinwheels to keep birds out).

It’s so much fun to go out in the morning and check on the growth. Watching what sprouts first, what takes off. The green shoots can be such a welcome sight.

Never, in all my years of writing, has a book behaved that way. I’ve never opened a file to find that the thing wrote a new chapter for me while I wasn’t looking–the same way the tomato plants sprout little yellow flowers while I’m off doing something else.

Writing is so time–and effort–intensive. If you aren’t putting fingers to keyboard, it just ain’t gettin’ done.

But one fantastic thing about writing is that it doesn’t die. No matter how long you’ve neglected to water it. No matter how long it’s been shunted into the back of your desk.

Go on. Open that ancient file.

Write a few lines. Write a few more.

It’s spring, after all.

See what grows.

BOUNTY

I’ve gotten into gardening the last couple of years. That, and cooking a more and eating far less meat. Every single time I’m out in the garden, I hear Ruth Gordon’s voice from HAROLD AND MAUDE (best movie of all time, by the way). Anyway, I hear that line she says somewhere in the middle (she and Harold are discussing, what flower they would most like to come back as): “I like to watch things grow. They grow and bloom and fade and die and come back as something else. Life!”

Each morning, I bring an armload of fresh tomatoes inside:

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I see some fresh spaghetti sauce in my future…