I am sitting here in the gloaming, 7:05 pm in Los Angeles, and am happy to be taking the time to write. I have nothing important to say but feel compelled to get some words on the page so this will, no doubt, be a disjointed rambling. That’s okay with me. I just need to move from editor back to writer after a very long season of helping students with college and professional school personal essays.
I have a hardcover copy of Roget’s Thesaurus on my left. I call this huge book, “Biggie” and when I am working on the final edits of essays with my students, I often say, “Okay, it’s time to get Biggie out and see what we can find.” The difference in the book versus an online thesaurus is that in the book you can see all the related words that cover the same and opposite pages. That can spur the imagination to think bigger and go deeper. The downside is that Biggie requires more time than a quick glance at an online thesaurus, which is sometimes difficult to communicate to a student who is on the other side of a FaceTime call.
On my right side, I have a notebook with notes I’ve scribbled related to an upcoming webinar for Story Circle Network. The title of the webinar is, “Two Paths, Fiction and Memoir: Traveling the One That’s Right for You.” That topic has defined my dilemma for quite a few years concerning the book I’ve written about my brother Jim and our time with him while he was battling AIDS. And I do mean battling since that was his general mindset for AIDS and all things (including me on occasion) over that 1 1/2 years that we were here with him in Los Angeles before his death. I have written a memoir of that story and have fictionalized it as well. Now it’s time for me to ask myself what it is I really want from that story. I am thinking the soon-to-be-aired webinar might help me with this decision.
I went outside today and watered all of our plants in the backyard. We have lots of plants out there since we use it as a growing area for Ray’s landscape design business. We have several lemon trees, a blood orange, a peach, and a pomegranate, not to mention our big avocado tree. Plus, we have three coffee plants the kids gave to Ray for a birthday a few years back. They are growing and doing well. We also have lots of orange and yellow clivias blooming right now, which are bright spots against the plethora of green leaves. We also have geraniums and epidendrum orchids, with flowers a lovely shade of pinkish-purple. Plus, Rachael and I have planted in our little postage stamp-sized garden several slips from sweet potatoes that we sprouted in our kitchen. They are slowly acclimating to the soil and I believe we’ll see a big burst of growth in the near future. Last week we fertilized them so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we see them really take off.
I watered today with one of those nozzles that lets out a wide spray of water. I felt as if I was the rain angel, washing off the dust and grime of the city and supplying much-needed water to plants that appreciated a cool, refreshing drink. I am not much of a gardener, but I do see the allure. Nothing makes me happier than being outside doing something purposeful, and I suspect this is at least one major quality of others who like wielding a water nozzle or digging in the dirt.
It is now 8 o’clock – long past the twenty minutes I like to allot – but I can say that it feels good to simply sit and write. I always can breathe deeper after I write. As if the words in my mind carry a weight that can only be relieved by exiting through my fingertips. So, with that, I’ll close. My mind feels calm, the weight is gone and I’m now happy to end my day with a warm bath.