Friday, July 22, 2011

I’m gonna dance hall, dance hall every day

Hollyhock about to bloom, at my new friend the artist's house

The cat woke me this morning, kneading his claws against my lips, as he likes to do in the morning when he wants to be stroked. That, and the sun striping my calves, and I woke up early to coffee and an egg sandwich, and then straight to my desk. The list of things I write each morning is getting longer—a stream-of-consciousness journal entry, then my dream from the night before, a way to mine my subconscious for the real work—the book that gets closer to being finished every day. My self-imposed deadline is July 31, and I feel my breath catch in my throat every time I realize I may just make it.

I’m on my last chapter right now, and it’s one of these things, like my desk, like my garden, that I can hardly believe. How can I be this person who has almost finished such a beautiful thing? Even if I tie the manuscript up in a neat knot and put it in my bottom drawer and never again show it daylight, every time I remember its existence feels like a drug. I don’t know what happens next, what happens on August 1, and right now I don’t care.

Then I put down these words, and after these words I go into the garden to harvest radishes, snap peas, turnip greens, spinach, and basil for macaroni salad for a friend’s birthday. Then maybe a walk in the woods or yoga, before I walk up the hill for pork ribs on the barbecue. Tomorrow, I can chose between a bluegrass festival, an Afro-Cuban drum workshop, and a local township’s annual festival on a dirt road, camping in the Maine wilderness. I feel like I’m living someone else’s dream of my life, as if I was mysteriously transplanted into JK Rowling’s world, or something. And I’m broke.

But even there comes synchronicity. Late last night, celebrating with another set of friends their anniversary, the potato harvest was mentioned. The idea of pulling potatoes up out of the ground, working in the open air, breathing nothing but oxygen and herbicide, and making enough money to get halfway through the winter, seems like another gift. Every day I breathe in faith, breathe out faith.


Karissa said...

What exactly is your book about? Do you already have a publisher? I find your journeys so compelling and - well - foreign, as I am stuck in the "American dream" life I'm not sure I ever really wanted. House, husband, kids, dogs, no time. Reading about your experiences truly are exhilarating for me.

Melissa said...

My book is actually a novel, and I have not found a publisher. Once I finish my first/ninth draft I'm planning an agent hunt. The book is set in New England and was started when I lived aboard, so has over-arching fish and ocean themes. Glad you enjoy the blog. The American dream can be so seductive that I think a lot of us get sucked into it without ever asking what we really want.