Growing Stuff

tomatoes.jpg

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.

2 Responses to 'Growing Stuff'

  1. Leonard says:

    Yay! Congrats on finishing-ish the draft!

    When I was in college and writing, Christopher Nolan published his first book using a “unicorn stick” pecking it out with a stick taped to his head. That also made me hyper-aware of the weight of words…

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/666048/Christopher-Nolan

  2. danica says:

    i love that book, it’s at the top of my list in fact. and i’m very impressed with the tomatoes. tony has this whole garden thing happening and we just plucked a few tonight, but they’re rather tiny. they’re sungolds. and CONGRATULATIONS on finishing the draft!!!!!!!!!!!!

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