Putting this here so I don’t forget

Sometimes I write something good, so good even my inner critic is silent. This is one of those things. From a Sunday write with Tracey, Janet and Bryan.
Prompt is Backyard Song, by Diane Seuss.


Uncorking my bottled life,
shattering the glass against the rocks in the field corners,
laboriously placed there by pioneers clearing the land for tilling.
There are no wild places left up here,
but many tame places left to return to the wild.
The lilacs and daffodils still growing,
still thriving,
in the places they were planted,
marking the outlines of farmhouses and ordered gardens
now decades overgrown.

Join us. Return to the wild,
Say the ordered row of pines
whispering to me with breezes.

I can only laugh in response.
I can’t be truly wild any more than they can.
Roots too deep,
patterns too linear, too ingrained.
The most we can hope for is
wild ish
free ish
uncorked ish.

But still.
There is no going back to corked.
The bottle is broken.
And wild ish is so much better than tame ish.

Days and days

It’s been 531 days since I last worked in the career I love. 411 days since the event that to me marks the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its raining hard right now, with thunder and lightning, as I’m mentally preparing to head to work. Bracing myself. Giving myself a pep talk. I don’t love this work, not the way I loved the last one. But it’s work, it pays ok, and the people are mostly good to work with. I’m appreciated.

I’ve been a mood the last few days where the pep talk was necessary. I had a chance at getting back into the work I love, but it didn’t happen. Did I fuck up the interview? Is the other just more qualified? Move on.

the disappointment has been crushing. I’ve found myself wondering if the sacrifice of my brewing career in order to stay up here was warranted. I felt ripped off, denied, disappointed, disheartened, depressed.

Snap out of it, I tell myself.

This is not how I want to spend my days, moping and letting my mood suck the sunshine from my life.

Make the sacrifice worth it. Learn to play the ukulele. Work on the garden. Write in the green room. Go for long walks on the trails nearby. Take the long way home and see something new. Reconnect with your friends, who are also struggling.

Be present, here here rather than there. Yes, I could have found a job in my career if we were still in the city. But we’d have to be in the city.

It feels so final, one of the four or five breweries up here hiring someone else. It leaves me two or three places left. People keep saying it will happen, and everything happens for a reason. I have to resist the urge to throat punch them and have faith that they may be right.

And now, i will go put on my shoes and raincoat, and head to work. I will have a few laughs with my coworkers, and take enough Tylenol to stop my hands from hurting so much.

The slow fight for sofa dominance

This is Max. Who seems to think he is going to win the war for the couch. I lay down, scooting him off or attempting to share. He moves grudgingly, leaving to crouch on the floor with his back to me, waiting for me to get up. As soon as I do, he is back, curled up in my residual body heat before I’ve even taken two steps. I get a drink or go to the bathroom or get my other glasses or grab the fuzzy blanket and come back to start the cycle again. As of this photograph, we’ve done this dance four times this afternoon.

2021

The house is quiet. The coffee has the perfect amount of Bailey’s in it. The cats are watching the birds outside the window. Keith is in his office. And the sun is coming up in a clear sky.

It’s an auspicious beginning to the new year. I am warm and safe in our yellow house, surrounded by everything and everyoneI love. Well, not everyone. Family is still too far away, and friends are in lockdown. So it’s not perfect.

November

Five years ago, I was in school. My project beer, a chai spiced English old ale, was fermenting away. The end of school was in sight, and I was becoming increasingly anxious about finding work. Who wants to hire and old broad?

Four years ago, I was employed. Magnotta hired the old broad. I got to work with people who made me laugh, and others who did not.

Three years ago, I was in Australia, cruising the Ocean Road in a convertible with my best friend. I was getting ready to start work at Side Launch when I got back to Ontario.

Two years ago, I was settling in at Side Launch, finally. I’d found a rhythm, a groove. My chai spiced porter was brewed and in the fermenter.

One year ago, I was reeling from the unexpected, getting fired/laid off/packaged out/ whatever you want to call it.

Today, I am gimping around on a broken ankle, but working in a place that is stable, and does not seem like they are going to let me go anytime soon. I was afraid while I was at home, feeling like they would get rid of me before my probationary period is over. But no, I got sick days, and paid for most of it.


ugh. There was a point to this when I wrote it in my head at work. It’s gone.

Delight x 10

Delight in the sight of bright yellow goldfinches eating beet leaves.
Delight in the sound of a hummingbird coming to the freshly filled feeder.
Delight in the white and tan cows ambling across the field.

Delight in the cricket noise.
Delight in the smell of the tomatoes on your fingers.
Delight in the cool breeze that’s blowing the smoke tree blooms around the lawn like little tumbleweeds.
Delight in the two pawpaw seedlings pushing up in the pot.
Delight in the calming sight of a cat sleeping in the sun.
Delight in the fact that this is where we live now.
Delight in the fact that this is definitely not Toronto.

Here

Firefly Creative Writing asked the question, “what is your ideal writing space.

There were already some comments when I sat the post. A villa in Tuscany, a pristine empty desk (I’m not sure what that is either), a special room.

I didn’t want to sound like that person when I said that my ideal space is the one I have, but it’s true. I mean, look at this:

A space for writing by hand or by keyboard. A mason jar full of pens, another with a beeswax candle from Janine, a bigger one filled with seashells. A cupboard for the journals, prompts and talismans. An antique tin gifted to me by Amy, just the right size for all of the Hello Writer prompts and self care cards.

And that view waiting for me when I look up from the page.

Untitled

What the what. I am having a really hard time getting my shit together the last few days. Is it the weather, grey and damp? Have I hit a wall? Or have I had too much sleep? Words aren’t coming and my brain feels soft and spongy.

I look around and think, I should be writing, I should get the beans out of the garden, I should do yoga or go for a walk. I should finish the rag dolls I cut out, I should embroider some bookmarks like I’ve planned. I should finish my coffee and close the window against the soft rain that just started. I should brush my teeth and have a shower.

Instead I stare blankly out the window at the rain, count my chin hairs over and over, and develop a deep dislike of the word should.

The 100 Day Project

I started the 100 day project again without really thinking about it. I could not tell you how or why I arrived at the embroidery, but that’s what I did. It originally started ask an idea for an abstract design, but it took a life of its own, become a diary of sorts.

I lagged a few days, and through about quitting it a few more. But i always caught up, and posted. I gave myself permission for it to be crappy, and a fair number of the circles were. Wonky stitches, skipped spaces, no plan. A few I thought about picking out and starting again. But I left them as is. And something interesting happened in that – my inner editor/critic was silenced.

I still posted the crappy ones, which was really hard the first few times for the usual reasons – nothing breaks a carefully curated social media image like the shit of reality, right? Not that mine was especially careful in its curation, but I have been known to adjust positions and fix lighting.

That gave way to the July NaNoWriMo project. There was a plan sort of. And I wrote/am writing. It’s not nearly a s good as the original short story, or some of the things I’ve written in retreats. But it definitely good as shitty first draft material. Already I can see that some of it is too long, doesn’t fit either in style or character. But there are nuggets there for directions i may not have found as i dreamt it and wrote a perfect draft in my head over the next millennia that I don’t have.

Like the 100 Day Project, a bunch of mismatched poorly crafted pieces can come together to become more than the sum of it’s parts.

I never thought I’d miss

I never thought I’d miss a garden, until decades past the last time I had one. It wasn’t really my garden. It was The Garden, caps intended.

The Garden at my childhood home was big. I’d say at it’s peak, it took up at least a quarter of our 2 acre lot. There were flowers along the edge, marigolds in front of cosmos, but the rest was utilitarian.

Long rows of strawberries, four currant bushes, and a row of raspberry canes for jam. Tomatoes for canning, cucumbers for pickles and relish, peppers, beans, carrots, peas to freeze. The garden made enough food for a family of four to eat well over a long winter.

It was a shit ton of work. Prepping the soil, planting, weeding, harvesting, preserving. I have memories of spending days and days hoeing between rows of plants, picking and shelling peas, hulling strawberries, peeling tomatoes.

But I also remember days and days of doing sweet fuck all, lazing by the pool, exploring the forest, or bicycling around the neighbourhood with my friends who had also been set free to go feral over the summer.

And now I have a garden. Mostly vegetables, with a few flowers. Keith always says its too big, but he said that last year, and we’ve now expanded it by a factor of three.

I think it was the second or third thing I ever wrote for Chris was a story about telling time by red fruit. It was Uber nostalgic, wondering if I could get that feeling back.

I did. Being unemployed right now is giving me back those long lazy days of slow. Time is moving differently than it did last year. Gone is the need to know what day it is, although it would be good to remember so I don’t miss any more writing sessions. I watch the garden every day, pulling weeds and talking to the cucumbers, wondering where the peanuts went (I blame chipmunks, but it’s also possible they are planted with the beets).

Slow gardening is telling time through what’s ripening. The rhubarb is ready, so I’m keeping a lookout for strawberries. Maybe next year we’ll plant a row.