I just love sitting outside my house in the springtime. The bees love our wisteria and the cats love exploring.
I took this picture about two years ago. I was sitting, as I am now, on the back steps. There are just four cement steps leading to the back door - not a full-on porch. But, it was a place to sit while I rested after returning from a long trip, and I could look at the back yard.
At one point I decided to get an outdoor table and chairs. I love looking at my back yard. It's green, it has trees, there's a field behind it. Plants here and there. Cats. I thought it was a shame not to take more time sitting and enjoying it, appreciating it.
I had a small ice cream parlor table when I moved in. It’s been sitting on the patio, but it's very hot there. The afternoon and evening sun bakes that space and anybody who is sitting in it. We have another patio table on the side of the house. That one is bigger, and with four comfortable chairs. There's a cover over that area, so the sun doesn't beat down on you. From disuse, this table has become full of things, as unused tables are wont to do.
And here I sit, on the cement steps leading to the back door. It feels like sitting here is what a small child would do; a real adult has patio furniture to sit on. But, this is my favorite view of the yard and my favorite place to be. It feels natural to come outside and sit here. I would have to make an effort to remember to go sit in the grown-up furniture. I can think better here than I can in the patio furniture, because I feel more at home here. I can drink coffee on these steps, the cats like to come up and sit with me. I'm happier here, so I’ve just decided to go with it.
Anastasia paused to think about the lies and deceit that defined her youth. Yes, she had a beautiful yard now with a perfect wisteria to rest under in the increasingly warm spring days. But, was it worth it?
Writer's Block. That's something that is written about, presumably by people who can't think of anything else to write. But, it's a real thing. I'm certain that there are ways to overcome it – to write through it, or take a vacation. How effective are these things? I suppose it depends on the reason for the block on the first place.
Under the instruction of the oh-so-inspiring Kristen Lamb, I am writing in my blog more frequently. Some days I post simply a picture, but I try to keep something new going on every few days. I don't want days of pictures in a row, though, so I do want to write something worth reading at least once a week. Back when I viewed my blog as simply a place to express myself and to practice writing I could go for weeks, months or even a year without posting anything. The plus side to that was that I only posted when something moved me to write, so there is more substance in what I've written there. Now that I'm trying to write more often, I sometimes get stuck. I can't think of anything interesting or moving, or I simply don't feel like writing. (This is not very different than my simply not wanting to go into work.)
I watched an interview with Stevie Nicks once and she was talking about writer's block and her writing style. When she wrote a song, she said, she wanted to capture the emotion of a moment in her music, even if it was something as small as the look in a little girl's eye. She said that she didn't want to try to force writing, that if she didn't have that inspiration she'd rather not write at all, even if it meant ten years without creating a new song. But then, after ten years she might remember that little girl's look and it might inspire a song.
This has kind of been my approach to writing. The biggest difference is that Stevie Nicks is a hugely successful, internationally known superstar who's written God-only-knows how many songs that she and other people have sung. I've written a few blog posts. Looking at this comparison, I'm beginning to think that there might be something else I could do. I don't know exactly what would push me over the edge of success. I could keep at it the way I'm doing, but historically that has not brought me monetary reward.
One thing I could do, though, would be to get out more. I could go out into the world and see more things and then I'd have more to write about. Aside from occasional writer's block I also struggle with my weight, so this could be beneficial in more than one way. I would be walking around my town; through its streets and parks. I would not be sitting down as much and I'd be burning more calories than I consumed. On top of that, I'd have more to fodder for stories and essays.
One of my favorite contemporary writers is Tom Cox, who lives in southern England. He writes in his blog, and his books seem to be compilations of those blog posts, with a little extra for your trouble. He goes for long walks through the English countryside and wilderness, and a lot of what he writes about is that. He has the advantage of the historic English countryside with its stone walls, its castles and old houses that were around before a European ever set foot on this part of Texas. But, that's not to say that I can't get out and see what's around me. I can get to know the history of my town. I can walk the highways and roads through Lund and Kimbro and try to see where these towns were, back when the Swedish people settled them. (New Sweden is another town lost in that area.) As far as I can tell they are now just signs on a signpost, and a modern one at that – not the really cool fingerpost that Americans are convinced direct travelers through the small lanes leading from one English village to another.
With that in mind I was taking pictures in my back yard the other day. It's amazing what you can see if you look around you, particularly in an old house like this, on a couple of acres. Other people's ideas and projects sitting forgotten, falling apart. Flora that want to retake the land and require constant attention to keep it in check. Animals and evidence of them are everywhere. Textures, colors... an album full of photographs without having to walk off of my property. Stories of snakes in the woodpile and rodent skeletons. Perhaps our little house is more interesting than a lot of others in our neighborhood, but there are still things to see if I walk around. I believe that will be my focus.
Until later, I leave you with this.