Every year I find I’m knee-deep in spring or early summer, stuffed with farmer’s market produce and sunny days with no idea how or when I got there. I just look up, and boom – this is my life, squeezing to see if the plums are ripe, filling the bird feeder and their bath, watering, weeding (so. much. weeding), slicing up apples for the deep freeze or the dehydrator and doing The Garden Thing that takes up more of my brain every season. As water restrictions and an earlier and earlier growing season changes traditions, I’m attempting to actually notice things and be more present this time around. It, like everything else with me, is a work in progress.
In the last couple of years I’ve been REALLY privileged to have several projects sell, one after the other. I suddenly went from a pause of about two years between books to having books come out three autumns in a row. In a pandemic. And every book, I discover myself knee-deep in revision or writing in ways to expand and bright forward hidden theme, or listening to audio book artists to give my two cents to my editor, and look up and think – wait, how did I get here? Outside of Julianna Baggott’s seminar that I took with my writing group a few years ago (It’s called Efficient Creativity – and it was truly worth our time), I don’t look much at my process. I have Ideas, they become books, The End.
With a smaller world, fewer opportunities taken to just get out and observe humanity, and more time by myself, though, I’m noticing that my creativity has taken a hit. Not a huge one – but I’m conscious that with the increased monotony of my days that the Random Idea Generator has slowed. I’ve always enjoyed rainy, gray days as a time to cocoon in and dream, but the past two years seem to have provided a plethora of that, and this winter hasn’t been as fruitful as I’ve expected. I find myself floundering. Part of it is the inevitable Doing Anything fatigue with the autoimmune thing, but it’s also that I find myself dodging commitments and feeling enormous pressure when I have to do even small things. It’s funny because we all know we have ‘seasons of life’ blah-blah-blah, but I think I’m finally connecting the dots with the garden – if we don’t have seasons we fertilize, we have seasons where nothing grows.
So, it’s time for finding fertilizer.
It’s a strange place to be. I’m good at creating assignments for this sort of thing – poem idea generators or something – but for ways to generate creativity in general? I’m kind of stumped. I’m trying to make more time to color, daydream, look at clouds. I’m not convinced that won’t work, but it doesn’t seem it will work in a hurry. In the meantime, the trees are budding, and I’m trying to pay attention and be at home in this world. Right now, that has to be enough.