I’ve spent a lot of time during this mandated/self-imposed quarantine attending to
the odds and ends of running a household. I’ve decluttered closets and cupboards
and dusted and laundered with spring cleaning frenzy. I’ve also spent a fair
amount of time cutting up fruit.

Since I shop for groceries only every two to three weeks, I have to stagger my
produce purchases, selecting a few for right now and the rest for later. Every day I
monitor the fruit not ready for prime time, checking for the gentle give, the hollow
thump, the change in color that will signal peak flavor. At last, I slice through the
skin to reveal the soft, smooth gold of mango or the green-rimmed, orange flesh of
cantaloupe. Flowery fragrance floods my nose as I remove the seeds, and at last I
sink my teeth into the sweet, succulent juiciness of summer’s bounty.

But is my obsession with ripening vegetation just another way to procrastinate with
my writing? Capturing the next chapter can apparently wait, but missing the
moment of nature’s nirvana can’t.

Julia Cameron states in her “Artist’s Way Every Day” that “so much of being an artist
is showing up on a daily basis so that our inner artist shows up for us.” If I wait to
cultivate my craft until I sense some arbitrary readiness on my part, my muse may
seek more fertile land. And then cutworms of self-doubt will nibble away at my
leaves of brilliance, weeds of indifference will strangle my slender stalks of genius,
and my creativity could wither and die. Getting the mango or melon to glory takes
not only sweet time but also nurturing soil, adequate water and sun, and careful
tending on a regular basis. No horticultural entrant in the State Fair ever won a
Blue Ribbon without the consistent and conscientious oversight of its constant

In March as the pandemic hit, I sowed the idea for my second book that I’d been
germinating, and by the end of June it stood nearly 20,000 words tall. But then the
skies grew dark—the nearly four months of isolation had triggered my never-
ending battle with depression. I would look in on my literary seedling from time to
time, sprinkle it with a re-read or a quick edit, but basically I let it languish. My
muse showed up with a burst of sunshine every so often, but I tended to ignore her
in favor of scooping out honeydew balls.

With the funk finally fading, my imagination breathes in the scent of my story
coming back to life. It’s time to spend an hour or a morning at my keyboard
garden, digging into the warm inspiration sifting through my fingers. Time to once
again feed and weed my budding opus, marvel at her new shoots, and measure her
growth page by page. I will try to be a better steward now. With this year’s crop
of Rocky Ford melons due any day, I best get typing before I get sidetracked again.

One thought on “READY—OR NOT?

  1. My fruity , brilliant friend, you did it again! I love this!

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