I guess I kind of have a final-ish draft of the memoir.
Whenever I get done with a draft, people inevitably ask me – aren’t you so HAPPY? Well, if I got HAPPY about things, I wouldn’t be a writer, would I? Mostly I feel a constant and overwhelming sense of nausea, interrupted by the occasional urge to make bread or knit a set of dishcloths or learn to play the banjo. For instance, I was up until eleven two nights ago making sandwich pickles from the few cucumbers in the garden that survived (most died a horrible death by sun-scorching). The pickles are awesome, if not quite as crisp as I would have liked.
I recently finished The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean Dominique-Bauby. Bauby wrote this wonderful memoir after suffering a massive stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome. He dictated the entire book by blinking his left eye.
Reading it, I felt a burden of responsibility to each sentence. My awareness of the effort it took to write the book placed a demand on me to be present for every page. Even the effort involved in writing a book with two good hands should bring that same kind of awareness to reading, but it doesn’t always. Sometimes it takes something as extreme as a book written with an eyelid to make us aware of the weight of words.
My attempts at gardening, however, have been successful in transforming the way I look at food. My poor squash, felled by powdery mildew. My poor lettuce, devoured by fat green worms. I can’t believe how hard it is. But my tomatoes, my tomatoes are glorious.