Writing Life

All That Nature Stuff

Previously dead and dying plants coming back to life, like my writing.
Previously dead and dying plants coming back to life, like my writing.

This morning, as I watered the plants, I noticed some green leaves on a plant that, previous to me making a routine of watering, looked entirely dead and brown. I am grateful for this. I am grateful for life in brown places.

There is another plant, the day lily my dog Oliver likes to eat, that is also greener than it has been. There are mysterious bushes around the columns of the pergola that are green on the bottoms and just bare branches on the top. The bare branches wind around the columns as if clinging to life itself. I suppose I must have faith the green and growing foundation I am helping build for them will help them be able to stand on their own one day.

There is a metaphor here.

There is a metaphor for writing and life. Something about giving your writing sustenance and trusting the ground it is planted in will become rich and fertile again, even after long periods of drought. It’s like that with me. I suffered a terrible writing drought lately, but once I started giving it the lifeline of daily practice and play, of getting out in the light and the air and the gentle morning sun, my drought has come to an end. The trick is, like the plants, that because I know I am in a drought-prone area, (I go through periods of barren writing times fairly regularly), I must hand-water. That is, I must not wait for inspiration to fall from the sky like rain. I must give myself the life saving element and, when rain does come, let it come, but not to be dependent on the fickle clouds.

I am grateful for this metaphor and for the real plants that have inspired it. Who knew I would find so much inspiration in “all that nature stuff”? I am beginning to feel what other poets and writers have felt. Weird.

-M.

Writing Life

My Third Thing

Mockorange
Mockorange

My third thing is the bright orange blossom I found unexpectedly on the hibiscus bush with all the brown, dead leaves. She was lying low next to the planter box wall. She shook and shivered in the stream of water I bathed her with. Her face turned down then up again, grateful for the rain even if it came from a human hand rather than the divine sky.

My third thing is the beautiful blossom I took a picture of yesterday. It was beautiful because it was near wilting but still retained its dignity, just as my town attempts to do. Her petals were curled at the edges, but her stamen was strong, bright yellow, three furry tips and a feathered shaft, open, ready. Today I found her completely wilted, not brown yet but closed and drooping. I wondered what had happened overnight to cause her such sadness. Perhaps she had lived her life quietly and, but for the brief moment I snapped the photograph, mostly in anonymity as one small part of the bush by the pool that we very rarely notice. Even splashing by it, she looked on, maybe lonely, and we never saw her until I decided it was finally too hot to ignore the plants altogether and gave her a bath, too late.

My third thing is the plant over by the wilted blossom which bears clusters of flowers I can’t identify. I thought it was mock orange at first, but a bank of mock orange, that I know for sure is mock orange, stands stoically next to it, shading the side of the house, and this plant is certainly not one of their grim yet sweet-smelling council. She is the only plant of her kind in the yard. Her leaves are brown too and her buds are barely surviving. Perhaps one day she’ll tell me her name as I shower her and sing to her the way I do the other plants. Cosmically the singing and love-talk is supposed to get them all going. Un-cosmically I think it’s the life-saving water in the blaring heat.

I have even encouraged the volunteer grass in the empty planter bed to grow. i noticed it was almost dead this morning, with just a few leaves sticking out. It reminded me of that poem about rats wanting to survive more savagely than the narrator. It’s like that with volunteer grass, so I rewarded it for its trouble.

-M.

Photography, Travel Writing, Writing Life

Travel Writers Take Their Own Photos? Wow. Guess I Better Get on That.

IMG_0619_2
Hibiscus
Hibisucs
Hibisucs

I did a bit of digging about what it takes to be a travel writer last night and learned that supplying your own photographs is often a part of it. Now, I’m legally blind, so this is somewhat of a challenge. The upshot is that I do love to take pictures, (weird I ended up with the bad eyes and the urge toward visual art at the same time).

So to begin my photography adventure with the beginning of my photography adventure, I started with my phone, my backyard, and the few flowers that have survived the unbearable heat snap we’ve had the last few days.

If you don’t mind me saying so, I think I did a pretty decent job for being new, near-blind, and equipped with an elderly iPhone. There is something wrong with the color in the closeup of the hibiscus. It appears the burst of color is distorting the detail of the flower. I’m sure I’ll learn how to deal with that in time.

I’m calling these flowers “survivors”.

-M.

Mockorange
Mockorange
Travel, Writing Life

That Which Scares Me Makes Me a Better Writer… I Hope

world-map-watercolor-michael-tompsettI found a travel writing class today from a reputable online source, Writers.com. I am scared to death to take it. I keep looking at other classes on more familiar subjects thinking I will take this and that because I am guaranteed to be better at something I’ve already done. But then, who needs more classes for that?

I feel such an urge to be a travel writer, only recently having openly admitted to myself, my sister, and you readers that it is something I have secretly wanted to do for a long time. To paraphrase Sera Beak from her wonderful memoir, Red Hot and Holy, nothing scares me more than doing what I am supposed to be doing.

When I was a kid, my mom told me that the more I hated a teacher, the better that teacher ended up being for me. My hope is it will be the same with this class: The more I fear it, the more I should know it is absolutely the right thing for me to do.

Updates as they come.

-M.