Friday, February 17, 2006

Apologies, Brain Damage,Writing, Mail, Etc.

Dear Readers,

I am sorry to neglect you. It is not intentional . . . I am not sure what my excuse was for Wednesday, I, um, well, I forget. Maybe I was tired, or distracted, or my shoulder hurt. There was a reason. I just don’t remember. Ya know this brain damage is a funny thing to live with. I have my areas that I am still knowledgeable and skilled and then there are other areas that just don’t work very well anymore. My own brain is a mystery to me. And it seems to pretty well be a mystery to people around me. As certain functions improve, folks seem to expect the others to improve at the same pace. But it just isn’t so. I still can’t cross the highway by myself, at least not safely. But I can write pretty dang good. (Maybe not this morning, though . . .)

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of “Mountain Voices.” It is primarily a group of poets; most are from up here in the hills. I am a sort of unofficial member – as I have never paid my dues. Anyway, they meet once a month for informal reading and sharing, and several times a year they sponsor a performance. I often participate, but not always. When I woke up yesterday morning, I actually remembered that the meeting was going to be held later that day. But I did not intend to go.

As you may already know, I have been doing some writing for the local paper. It started out as an extension of this blog. But it is evolving into its own thing. Yesterday I was working on an article for the paper, on soil nutrient cycles. It used to be that writing that sort of thing took me a few hours. Now it takes much longer. I used to be able to compose whole essays in my head, edit and revise while I washed dishes or pulled weeds, or even while I did filing at work or drove from one place to another. Now I can’t even remember what words I used in the paragraph preceding the one I am working on. Oh well, I can write. (But maybe not this morning . . . Did I mention that already?)

The little journey of getting my thoughts on paper regarding the nutrient cycle, and attempting to express my self proclaimed depth on the subject was a challenge. I was hoping to express something useful, and transformational, on the subject of gardening to my fellow seed poets here in this specific water shed. Since I can’t hold the whole essay in my thoughts at once – I don’t even have an idea of how well I succeeded – even from my own vain perspective. If I did succeed I can’t entirely take credit. Because I am not entirely in control. There is now much more of a spirit of whimsy and prayer in my life. Whimsical irreverent foul-mouthed prayer. And while I lean towards the whimsical, I am also more cautious in many ways. But that is another story.

Yesterday, by the time I got through with my initial attempt to transform the way folks think of their soils, I had a real need to get out of my own broken head. I needed to be influenced by thoughts that ran in different rhythms, sang in different melodies, rushed through different watersheds. So, I arranged to get a ride to the Mountain Voices meeting. And I neglected you, Dear Readers, and I am sorry. There is not much that is more important to a writer than their readers. Readers, in fact, have a hand in shaping writers. It does not just proceed the other direction. The small or large feedback, the questions, comments, and suggestions have a profound influence on writers. Writers and readers belong to a community of thinkers. The role of the reader is often undervalued and viewed as much more passive than it really is.

Mountain Voices was lovely as always. While we mostly live along the same river system, we are situated along the drainages of different creeks. We face different ridges and valleys. We have different points of view. Listening to other writers read their work is a great way to get out of your own head. Next month there will be a performance night at the Straw House in Big Bar or Big Flat, or whatever the heck that town is called. They are usually on the third Thursday or Friday of the month. If I remember I will keep you informed. If I forget and you care, just ask.

Anyway, I now have submitted two articles to the local paper that you have not seen here on this blog. (At least I think that’s the way it is. I can’t check cause this dang old computer I am writing on won’t let me get on line this morning. The thing of it is, I don’t know how many articles I have written or even what their topics are. Even I find this amusing. ) One of those articles has been published, I think, and other may be published next week. We shall see. I have been trying to get a hold of the editor, who is very busy. Instead of posting the articles here first – I want to let her publish them first, and then with her permission, post them here. So, I do hope to share them with you soon. But we shall see.

Anyhow, I received two small packages in the mail, which is always exciting – at least to me. The first on is from a lady I got acquainted with over the Internet. We have been doing some trades, and if I can get on-line I will give you a link to the group where we met. I received from her some bulbuls of a plant variously called tator vine, cinnamon vine, air potato, and monkey balls. It is in the sweet potato family and produces edible roots and above ground bulbuls. I am pretty excited about it. I don’t think the plant will take a frost, so I am going to start them inside and move them out later. There are also some generic pumpkin seed, Long Island pumpkin, passionflower, and money plant, as well as some seeds that look like morning glory but are supposed to be running okra or “Viet Cuke.” Doing seed trades is great fun. And I finally got on line after about the tenth attempt. Here is the link:

Also in the mail were the seeds I had forgotten in my friend car down in San Jose. The hotel was right across the street from a large Korean Supermarket. I had tons of fun wandering around in there. Our whole town could have disappeared in that market. They had produce I had never seen before, and I was delighted to see they had seeds. I purchased a kind of squash seed called Early Bulam. Heck I got no idea what it is or how to say the name. But I am going to try to grow it. On the package it is a dark green barely ridged and barely striped remotely pear shaped. And sufficiently different than anything else I am in the habit of growing to be very intriguing. I also purchased some “Dragon Tongue” lettuce. It has a very long narrow leaf of a dark green with red veins. I think it would look lovely in a salad with my red deer tongue lettuce. Then there is a hot looking pepper, long and narrow and wrinkled looking. It is called “Twist Green.” Last but not least, they had these huge radishes in the market. HUGE. Bigger than a big turnip. They probably weigh several pounds each. I am not sure if they will grow around here, but I am going to give it a try.

Gosh darn it, I don’t need another dang seed . . . LOL . . .

One more little thing. The February issue of Better Homes and Gardens has a couple of interesting articles. One is called “Digging a New Life.” I really like the rock cairn they picture in the article. If you read many gardening magazines you know that garden decorations are in. Most I can live without – even most of them in this article. But the cairn is cool. The other article is called “A Stroll in the Tropics.” While most of the plants pictured definitely would not grow around here, I like some of the effects they have achieved. The front walk and the outdoor sitting room are lovely. There is also a photo of some drift wood used as a garden ornament much in the way I have all ready been imagining. Their driftwood is festooned with orchids. That definitely wouldn’t work here. However the driftwood could be used as a pedestal for a small sculpture, birdbath, or an attractive stone . . . Anyway, I am not to the ornamenting stage. But it is still fun to think about . . .

All right, time to get off my butt. (Hopefully I can get back on line and post this thing.)

You all have a great day in your gardens!



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