Most of the blogs I read are funny, or smart, or sometimes gut-wrenching, but they usually focus on the outer life. Most of the blog writers I read have a lot more children than I do, and/or just a more interesting, action-filled life than I do. So their outer lives are far more interesting than mine.
As an experiment, I'd like to try a blog here that discusses the outer life as a metaphor for my inner life. I'll try not to sound to self-conscious or "literary" - which is hard for me to do even when I try.
Here's what set me to thinking about this.
There's a huge apple tree in my back yard. Mother says it's far larger than most apple trees.
I didn't plant it. It was here when we moved in the house 8 years ago. It never produced anything really resembling real apples until last year, and then we sort of noticed them after they were at their peak. They were mostly all over the ground. The birds were feasting on them.
Most of the apples were the size of golf balls. They were sour. I spent several hours one day getting a bunch of them peeled so I could make a small batch of homemade apple sauce. I hadn't made homemade apple sauce for Michael before then.
He loved it.
I promised my friend Paul that this year we would share apples with him, and I hope there will be apples to share. He recently married for the second time and is enjoying being a dad to his wife's two daughters, who live with them. [Notice I didn't say "stepfather" - he is taking the role far more seriously than that. Kudos to him.] Paul is a writer too, and a "foodie." We share food, seedlings, eggs sometimes [from his chickens]. He also used to publish books of poetry, and he published a book by a friend of mine, which is how we met. [See how I worked in the writing reference there?!]
My life is sort of like that apple tree. Most days I just feel like one tree among many, nothing special. It's taken me a long time to produce edible fruit [writing that pays off] and yet... Michael likes that I stay at home and write. I try to be done by the time he gets home from school.
I'm not entirely sure the apple tree will produce fruit again this year. I don't know what magical confluence of sun and rain produced apples last summer. I certainly didn't fertilize the tree.
I'm not entirely sure I can be a writer full-time, or if I should even keep trying. I am keeping my eyes open for regular office type jobs.
My life seems to be in stasis right now. I am unsure whether there will be writing this summer, or fruit from the apple tree, or what, if anything, I should do about either situation.
I only know one thing for certain: I love applesauce that I make, and Michael loves it.
Tending fruit trees is an entirely new thing for me.
Disciplining myself to write is an entirely new thing.
Years ago, I used to kill all kinds of plants. I still kill plants occasionally. Not on purpose. I'm just sort of a haphazard gardener. I don't get into reading about gardening, or approaching it scientifically. I just like to see things grow, and I try to keep things watered, composted, and fertilized. I try to be organic as much as possible, but it's not always possible.
Like, this year I've planted a bunch of radishes and marigolds in the long side garden, in hopes my cucumbers and squash will be protected from bugs. I don't know if it will work but it's worth a try.
Years ago, I didn't write because I didn't think I had anything to write about. I didn't get out and DO anything much. I worked, I came home and read books, and I watched a lot of movies. Everything changed when I decided to go to Russia in the summer of 2002. I was re-energized about writing, and my life turned a corner.
Regardless of whether I can make any apple sauce or apple pies this summer, I enjoy seeing my massive apple tree in the back yard. It has grown as our house has become a home. It shelters. It provides sweetness for birds and insects. It looks as though it belongs out there.
Regardless of whatever else I do this summer, I will write - whether it's during the day, or nights and weekends, it doesn't matter.It doesn't even matter if it's good. I have to write, the same way I have to breathe. It sustains.
I will keep trying to produce edible fruit, and I will keep looking for corners to turn.