Posted by: mew | December 1, 2009

when you’re having fun

It’s already the first of December.  Does anyone find that strangely unsettling?

Perhaps because it’s the first day of the last month of the year, all of my nebulous feelings and more-or-less unarticulated fears about not getting enough writing done this year seemed to be with me when I awoke, sitting leering at me from the foot of the bed, or peering over the headboard with their owlish eyes magnified by coke-bottle-bottom glasses.

Just great.

I’ve said before that I wasn’t sure of the direction of this particular blog.  I know that Victory Garden Redux is a photographic journal of my kitchen garden, and it has a pretty steady heartbeat (although lately it’s harder to find inspiration as the garden goes to sleep for the winter).  In it, I ramble a bit every day through my memories of the garden, sometimes memories only moments old, and my philosophy about our relationship with the Earth pokes its head up now and then, and I get fanciful and daydreamy, just as I do in the actual garden, and I also deal with the real nitty gritty and get my hands dirty.

The main goal there was to post something every single day, so that I develop a habit of producing some writing for public view each day.  The public view is the part that scares me the most.  And I can definitely say it’s working.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I blogged in thirty minutes or less, including photo uploads, on two different days, and it’s been a long while since I’ve felt the characteristic stomach lurch that pressing “publish” used to give.

But this blog has been used as a repository for, well, everything else.  On it, I’ve discussed the process of quitting smoking, gone on Joy Rebel missions, and kept up with my journey through 12 weeks of The Artist’s Way and a couple of weeks of Art Every Day Month.  But now, I have to be honest with you, I don’t know what to do with it, in which direction to go.

I’m going to be pondering that for a few weeks, maybe right up until the New Year.  Meanwhile, I want to take my writing to a new level here, and not just on the garden blog.

I’ll be posting a freewrite topic on Wednesday mornings, and then my response to it by the weekend.  I want to get back into the habit of doing Natalie Goldberg-style freewrites regularly, to stretch my writing voice and practice using my deep intuition when wielding a pen.  For anyone unfamiliar with Natalie Goldberg and the timed freewrite she advocates in both Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind, I’ll be posting the basic rules and procedure along with the first topic.

And if those of you who like to write want to join me and post your responses on your blogs, or even send them to me via e-mail, you are welcome to.  I’d love some company.

I used to meet with a friend for weekly writing practice, wherein we’d both freewrite on a topic for 10 or 15 minutes, or more, and then we’d pause, shake out our aching hands, and read aloud what we’d written to one another.  Following Natalie Goldberg’s guidelines, we never critiqued a freewrite (a sure path to paralyzing the creative voice), but only listened attentively and then said “thank you” or other words of gratitude in response.

It was a beautiful partnership, and it did a lot for me, as I think it did for her.  It would be wonderful if this space could birth something like that.

However, I’ll be getting some writing done no matter who joins me, starting tomorrow.

Namasté, y’all!

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Responses

  1. The freewrite sounds awesome! And I think it’s a wonderful idea to take some time to ponder what the next steps for you are. Right before the New Year always seems like a great time to reflect.

    Thanks so much for joining in AEDM this year. It was a pleasure creating with you!

    • And it was a pleasure creating with you, Leah. You are a wonderful artist!

      And I definitely need to take that time. 🙂

  2. The free write sounds interesting. I may join you. (May. 🙂

    It is unsettling to me too. I cannot figure out where on earth this year went to. Such craziness!

    • Yeah, 2009 feels weird, as if it were a teacup ride that whirled us around and then I stood up and couldn’t walk straight at the end.

      You’re welcome to join if you have time! (I know photography is more your *thing*, so feel free to take a photo to match the prompts, too.) 🙂

  3. lovely idea! i’d love to participate 🙂

    • Cool! You’re a great writer, Alisha, and I can’t wait to read your response 🙂

  4. I’m all wrapped up in writing now, trying to finally finish my first novel. So close and yet so far. And what is on my desk? Natalie Goldbergs Old Friend from Far Away. I love the freewrite idea.

    • Great, Lisa! Feel free to join. I love your writing 🙂

      Haven’t yet red Old Friend from Far Away, but I’m interested, for sure. Natalie on Memoirs? Sign me up!

  5. it’s too soon for December, not ready, never ready. Nice macro.

    • Thank you for the compliment 🙂 December seems to have grown overnight, like Jack’s beanstalk!

  6. Looking forward to seeing what you are lead to create next year… i am keen on the free write idea!

    • Thanks so much, jane. I’ll try to get that free write prompt and instructions up today!

  7. i am interested meredith. never tried it before but i have a feeling i would enjoy it.

    about the garden blog- i got lost over there for a while. it is really nice- i love the format as well.
    just idea: perhaps you can bring the garden into the kitchen?

    • I like the kitchen idea so much, by the way — it’s just that, in the three or four posts where I’ve tried to do that, I’ve discovered I can’t write recipes for the life of me. I think it’s because of the way I cook, leaning heavily on intuition and practice and little tastes along the way… sigh. I’ll try to get better at this skill! 😉

      Thanks so much for the compliments!

  8. just yesterday i read this

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/nov/29/jobs-garden-december-dan-pearson

    surely you have more info than that but i don’t- this last year was my first time gardening “intentionally” and i had really hoped to give kale a try this winter. but i think it is too late for our climate now 😦

  9. Feel free to join in anytime, elsa!

    That was a very comprehensive article 🙂 We’ve already mulched most of our beds, composted or destroyed the spent plants — except for one cherry tomato that I just can’t seem to get rid of, as it’s still producing, miraculously! We’ll be adding lime any day now, a necessary amendment for our heavy clay soil. Thanks for sharing!

  10. The beginning of December doesn’t unsettle me as much as the END of the decade! My husband and I have been discussing how quickly those ten years went . . . we didn’t start them having “a plan” and we don’t have one now. Somehow, this lack of plans seems to apply to my writing as well. Some days I feel like writing, and some days I don’t even approach my study — much less my computer! I admire the way you are setting specific goals for yourself — even though the results are more open-ended.

    I look forward to getting to know you better, Meredith. xx


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