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Archive for May, 2010

     Every now and then, I don’t recognize myself. It happened just yesterday. I was working in my rose garden–pulling weeds, clipping off dead branches, and spreading mulch. When it was done, I sat back to look at it, and it looked pretty good. Then all of a sudden, I saw my garden through the eyes of the college student I used to be, and I wondered, “Where did that come from?”

     You see, I grew up in apartments. I didn’t garden. I didn’t sew. I didn’t cut hair. In fact, I had few domestic skills of any kind and no real interest in acquiring any. When I think about what I was like then,  I find myself looking at who I am now–the at-home writer mom who sews, bakes, and gardens–and wondering how I got here from there.

    Of course, part of the answer is necessity. I grow roses, because I like roses. I would have cut roses in my house every day if I could–but buying roses is too expensive. This same rule of supply and demand led me to develop most of my current domestic skills. I took up sewing so I could make Halloween costumes–the nice kind that cost so much–and so I could dress my toddler in one of those red velveteen Christmas dresses with the three inch lace. (One experience sewing with velveteen got that out of my system.) This summer I am going to learn how to make jam because my family has become fond of blueberry jam, and blueberry jam is one of those specialty jams where you pay twice as much to get a jar that holds maybe four servings.

     This same reasoning can be used to explain how I started writing. As a kid, I got tired of reading fantasy stories with one token female character, so I started making up stories for myself–stories with female protagonists. If you think about it, I’ve never really stopped.

     Perhaps my old self would have despised who I have become, but I have learned some valuable lessons along the way–not just sewing, cooking and gardening–but lessons on problem-solving and perserverance. My mother did without a lot of things like roses and blueberry jam because we were too poor to afford them. I am also too poor to buy such things at the store, but I have learned that if I want them badly enough to put in the time and effort to learn something new, I can have them. Not only that–the homegrown roses have a better scent.

     On my back deck are a pair of shrubs, still in the pots I bought them in. They are blueberry bushes. I don’t just intend to learn how to make  jam. I am going to grow my own blueberries. My old self would probably look down on me for that, but then my old self wouldn’t have blueberry jam.

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