I Need to Write

I have always wanted to be a writer. Scratch that, not true–I always wanted to write. I started writing when I was in first grade, and in one form or another I haven’t stopped since. But never the way I wanted to, the way one assumes a “writer” writes; as though that was their job, their living, their passion.

Almost 5 years ago I lost my job. I took two years off for online classes to re-up my skills in hopes of getting another job in the field I wanted. And once those classes were done, while I was job-hunting, I wrote. OH, how I wrote! And I loved it. For nearly three years.

All that time, I lived off first my retirement money, and then off my father’s when he died. (Still job hunting, not that irresponsible!) But suddenly I was notified that the money was gone. No lead time. No warning, not a hint.

Yes, a writer writes. But sometimes a writer HAS to stop writing.

I had to.

I’m exhausted every day, doing nothing but hitting the job search engines and falling asleep in front of my laptop trying to fill in One. More. Damn. Application. It’s desperation time; I absolutely HAVE TO have a job by the end of this month, or I will lose my house. I know finding a job has to be my priority, or all is lost.

And I’m going bugfuck CRAZY.

I MISS writing! I miss my characters. I miss writing down (and finding out!) what happens next. I’m hoping this ‘not writing’ is actually a good thing, that I’ll come back to my WIP fresh, able to look at it with new eyes and see where things might be going wrong, or where something needs tweaking (That’s tweaking, not twerking! Gods forbid!). Or even that I might come up with something to improve what I’ve done, a new twist or new insight.

But I’m afraid that I won’t. I’m afraid I’ll lose my edge, lose the flow, lose my train of thought.

If I really think about it, I’m sure those doubts and fears are due to depression and stress and exhaustion, and that once I get a job (because I refuse to believe that I won’t) and get a chance to catch up I will be able to get back in the groove.

I’ve done it before, snatching every second to write, scribbling in my notebook at breakfast, on my break, at lunch, and then transcribing everything when I get home. I wrote everywhere, every second I could. My chiropractor (the absolute BEST guy in the world!) grins every time he sees me with my notebook, and was the first person to notice–and pointed it out–when I didn’t have it. (I was put on new medication, and my brain leaked out somewhere. That was the first time I was unable to write at all, and I hadn’t even noticed it!) And the first person to hug me when he saw me with the notebook again.

Because I can’t not write. It seems to be my biological imperative. I get crazy, like a junkie needing a fix. Anxious, jonesing, itching, frantic.

I got a call today, for an interview. Exactly the job I’ve wanted, receptionist at a doctor’s office. I’m hoping I get the job.
Not only because I need the money and want to keep my house.

Because I want to WRITE, dammit! And until I have a job, I can’t.

And I can’t live like this.

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I’d love to have a garden

I love flowers. Nasturtium, lantana, hibiscus, lavender, hydrangea, orchids, roses… I can even respect the beauty of oleanders, albeit wondering why anyone would want something so poisonous anywhere near anyone they love.

Among my favorites are morning glories, but my absolute favorite is the gorgeous and exotic night-blooming cereus. My cereus currently has seven bunny tails (soft, furry buds), and I’m hoping that the spring rains don’t beat them all off the plant before they have the chance to bloom, as they did last year. This plant was a cutting from the Mother Ship down the street—that one logged in at over 120 blooms a couple of years ago! I can only aspire.

One of the reasons that the morning glories and the cereus are my favorites is because I have two brown thumbs. I’m not a gardener, you see. To call my style of gardening “benign neglect” is to be WAY too kind. But the morning glories grow wild in my garden, and the cereus hums along happily so long as it gets some water when it’s dry. It’s the only plant I take in or cover when the frost warnings come out down here in Florida.

The only other things that grow without anyone tending seems to be Brazilian Pepper and the oak trees. In my yard, those are serious pests! I currently have six—yes, SIX—oak tree saplings growing in and through my chain-link fence, and two more growing up through the hedge in my front garden. I can’t keep up with them. I’m 61 years old with arthritis in my hips and back, I can’t do the work that it would entail to dig them out, root and branch, and I don’t have the funds to pay someone else to do it. And I’ve given up on the Brazilian Pepper. NOBODY can keep up with that!

So I take my pleasures where I can get them. When I take the dog out for her walk in the morning I say hello to the morning glories that are blooming, and tell them how beautiful they are. And I pet the bunny tails on the cereus and tell them I can’t wait to see them bloom. And I take pictures of them, to document each stage, because let me tell you, when they bloom they are absolutely BREATHTAKING! 8 to 10 inches across, and such a pure white that they glow in the dark. When they go off this year I’ll see if I can post some pictures. If you don’t know, they only bloom one night a year, though sometimes the blooms go off at different times, making the show last for up to a week. If all of mine bloom, that will happen over several days. I love it!

The fun thing about my garden is that it did it its own self. When I moved into my house, the garden was a disciplined hedge precisely cut to within an inch of its life, two beautifully blooming bird-of-paradise plants, and three rose bushes under my bedroom window. The bird-of-paradise never bloomed again, though their foliage remains with a haughty nose-in-the-air stubbornness. Two of the rosebushes died, but the third held on until my house fire in 2004. The fire never touched it (it was all internal), but oddly enough when I moved back in after the house was redone the rosebush was gone. Completely. Root and branch, thorns and all. Just an empty space between the hedges. I can only say “?”

And, of course, the ubiquitous plethora of weeds.

But then the morning glories showed up, and the pothos that I was told was philodendron grew out of its pot and moved in, and a hibiscus appeared in the perfect space where the porch roof turns the corner. And this past year a flowering bush mysteriously moved in at the corner of the house. We have decided it is an azalea, and I gloried in its beautiful explosion of pink petals.

Nobody dug the soil. Nobody planted the bushes. Nobody trims or tends them. Perhaps it was garden fairies, taking pity on my poor, neglected garden and deciding to cheer us up by giving us this gift. If so, I thank them from the bottom of my heart, because they’re beautiful.

The Brazilian Pepper, not so much. I’m pretty sure it was some bird carrying the berries and dropping them into the midst of my crepe myrtle. It has all-but strangled the poor myrtle, its staves shooting up almost overnight through the myrtle’s branches. It doesn’t even have the grace to grow into the myrtle, standing aloof within it while the myrtle’s branches touch and embrace and become one.

Was there a point to this post? Not really. I just wanted to share my wild garden with you. Because, hey, morning glories.

And because life deserves the incredible beauty of the night-blooming cereus.