Well, it’s been a week. I woke up last Sunday with the beginning of a cold and by Wednesday it was pneumonia. Viral, and not earth-shattering, but I was so sick, a whole body sick. Not like my head is stuffed up but otherwise I feel fine. Nope, it was a lay on the couch and watch a Law and Order Marathon all day sick. To tell you the truth, I got tired of the delicious soup, and I gave some away and I still have some. So maybe next time I could temper the quantities. When you have a contagious infirmity you should probably make less soup. Dinner parties are pretty much out of the question!
Anyway, on Wednesday I went to the doctor and she put me on a 10 day Prednisone taper and now I feel so much better. I’m barely sleeping and full of energy, but I guess that’s the way it goes. From 0 to 60 overnight. So, I’m working in my yard a little. My son Alex has been moving the huge flower pots around, and I’ve been directing him. Like that Lowe’s ad that says “Here’s how to move a refrigerator with one finger.” That’s how I’m moving pots of geraniums. It’s pretty great, actually. I’m missing the gym, but that’ll come back.
And I’ve been writing. I’ve been doing the multitude of exercises in Natalie Goldberg’s book about writing memoir. It’s called Old Friend From Far Away and really has me going. Here is a piece of advice from that book that really spoke to me: “You will want your memoir to have tension and drive, to let people know you were alive on this Earth. This willingness to write with fear and danger at your side is the beginning of how to give your writing a friction that draws in your reader. They will trust you.You have a right to write it. Throw it out, rip it up, swallow it down. Build up a capacity to bear up, don’t let fear ruin your writing life. Hide your notebook in a good place.” Think about Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. She tells some really unflattering stories about herself and her behavior, and you don’t judge her because she is honest about it all. She lays out the whole coming to grips with herself thing. That’s what Natalie is talking about.
Or consider this blog post by Jen Louden, which includes a video of her talking about taking care of herself while she’s writing some hard honesty. It’s obviously grueling, yet there are ways to help yourself through it, and it is critical that you do it. I’m not quite there yet, but if I want to write memoir, I have to be willing to do hard things, so it’s on my list. I’m looking for a good place to hide my notebook!
Okay, I’m out. I’m watching the sun as it travels across my garden today, looking for just the right place for a new plant I bought at the farmer’s market today. It’s a Chinese May Apple, apparently somewhat rare. For what I paid it should be blooming gold nuggets. Wish me luck with it! If it grows it’ll be a winner.
Have a great weekend. May you do whatever your heart desires, with those you love.