Friday, June 21, 2013

Finding a Life of Serenity and Peace

There is a serenity and a peace to farming which mixes well with writing.


   I think I have the answer to why a lot of writers are also farmers of one thing or another. (This includes being vintners) Farming can be something which can be done in solitude, and since a huge amount of farming is done between four am and nine am, leaving a lot of time later in the day for writing.  In addition, doing mindless hard work of some kind is very helpful in terms of organizing writing.  There is also a rhythm and a structure to gardening or farming which is helpful in terms of providing a framework to a writer who sometimes does not benefit from such large blocks of unstructured time,which could be used for nothing more than procrastination.
                I used to wonder why people continued farming when it was such hard work and when some years it yielded so little money.  I understand now. Small scale farming allows time for writing and other pursuits later in the day.  It opens your family to an entire group of farming culture, which is indeed a culture of its own.  There is peace and tranquility in the satisfaction of working with God to produce a sustainable product. It's not that God needs us to do this, it's that we share in the stewardship of growing or breeding something, and in this small way, we become part of the tapestry of producing a natural product.

                All this said, I am an abyssmal farmer.  I lose more money farming than anything else.  However, I have a routine, some wonderful farming friends, and I gain many things from the endeavor itself.   We grow a variety of trees including royal paulonia.  We grow pears, including the Asian variety.  We grow apples.  We grow blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi and grapes. Cherry trees, peaches and plums should be coming in the next couple of years.  The trees were long since planted but we have needed them to be well established before culling the early fruits, as the trees were not yet ready to sustain the weight of maturing fruits.  We keep chickens and ducks for eggs.  I have a lovely herb garden with mint of all kinds, chives, and a broad range of items.  We raise alpacas, miniature horses and dogs.  We also have two cats.  When the kids were smaller we used to breed rabbits.  In the past we have grown vegetables as well.   This year I have a variety of lettuces and swiss chard.   Most of the food we grow here is for family use. Occasionally we give eggs to a friend, or they provide a ton of squash to us.  I might never make money from my farming adventures, but we do eat inadvertently organically from our intent to be as self sufficient as possible, simply because it is a considered and less expensive way to live.
               Who knows ?    Eventually I might find an animal or a product for which I am financially successful.  Eventually perhaps being really good to the animals will pay off.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Many Seasons of Becoming a Writer


In order to be a successful writer, eventually one must take the driveway, and leave the farm, at least for awhile. One can't adapt too effectively to solitude.

   You might think that writing books is an activity best done in solitude, but that is not quite true.  It certainly helps to have periods of time where people aren't phoning, interrupting, or talking to you while your hands dance quickly over the computer keys, but then this would be only a snapshot of the many seasons of any writer.  Writers must first live a life, and perhaps even another career in order to observe and to understand sufficiently something about the life of which they choose to write.  This is one season.  Then, outlining and researching things you might say, to me, is another long season. Then, there is the season of actually writing the project, which I find fairly satisfying as I can check off each chapter done.  When complete, there are revisions and reviews, and editing.  No writer likes editing, but it is a necessary evil, and once in awhile, they do detect something for change that you didn't catch, rather than earmark something for change that you fully intended. I also find the pictures and artwork trying. They are so very important, and of course, others may not share my vision for the project.  When your book is released, then comes the season with which I apparently, have a little difficulty.  I want to go on vacation and not hear a word about the book, because for me, it's complete.   This is when a new season surely begins.  In this season, the writer must convert to a charming and charismatic conversationalist and be willing and able to do some travel, some radio programs, some book signings, and some television, if you are lucky enough to get it.  Of course, in order to realize your investment in time and blood, sweat, and tears, and in order to generate both a market for your book, successive projects and royalty checks which make the whole process possible, you must adapt and shine in this season as well.    And so, I flounder in this expression of a shining new self who is the absolute opposite of the woman who chose last year to lock herself up and create two books within months, while hoping the housework would do itself !
            I am still doing radio programs promoting the books.  The most recent was


Sometimes, such appearances generate articles and commentaries afterwards.  Here is one of these:

A Nurse Talks about Rational Preparedness which appears in Before It's News


  Tune in, if you would like to hear my attempts at being interesting and charismatic, oh and please, buy one or both of my books !   The people who have are glad they did !    Perhaps this adaptation of sorts is something which prevents others from becoming writers.