Writing in the Midst of Life, the Universe, and Everything

Yesterday, I decided to set my computer aside and not even look at it, not think of writing and editing and marketing for one blessed day. Instead, I went to church, napped, and had friends over for dinner. Admittedly, I attend church and invite friends over reguarly–usually, though, my mind is elsewhere, on what I need to edit, how I need to change my query letter, etc.

I haven’t thought too much about writing matters today, either. I took the children to the library, ran errands, paid bills, and made plans for the week. I have applesauce to make from a box of windfall apples; I have a wild garden to tend. My garden has a drip system, and I only use kitchen compost in it, so the weeds haven’t taken over–I haven’t even seen any wild mustard–I’ve beaten down the hollyhocks–and the bindweed has not crept up to my rows of vegetables and wrapped its insidious tendrils around my basil and parsley and carrots. Still, my garden is looking ragged from the weeds that have rooted themselves here and there in the rich, composted soil.

I suppose an unedited book is like an untended garden–full of weeds. I’ve edited my book until I want to cry from frustration, and I’ve finally let it go–that is, I’ve given it to a writer friend who is a fabulous editor. When he offered to edit it for me, the great clenched ball inside my abdomen released itself. I was beginning to think I would soon implode into a black hole–I’ve been feeling so compressed inside–a burnt-out star spinning itsef into nothingness. So, there you are–my writing life compared to a ragged garden and a blackhole. Wow, I must admit that my poetic side seems to have disappeared lately.

I have so many things to do, though–so many things. I’m going to teach myself and my children to play the piano, I’m going to start speaking to them in Spanish, and I’m going to teach my youngest girl to read, and . . .

The image above is of bindweed. Isn’t it lovely with its trailing tendrils and flowers that resemble morning glory? Don’t let it fool you; it snakes for miles underground and chokes the life out of a garden.


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