Saturday, April 2, 2011
About My Skinny Garden, Part 3
When I started this blog, I never dreamed I'd stick with it this long. Honestly, I thought I was just creating a way to show friends and family that I had a garden. That I was being out in the dirt, on purpose. Without proof, they'd never believe me. I'm not a girlie-girl, but I'm notorious for being afraid of worms, bees, birds, snakes and small animals one might encounter in a garden like raccoons, squirrels and rabbits. Yes, even cute little rabbits. It's a fear that any an all wildlife are planning to attack me. I am the type of person who is liable to abandon the car in the middle of the expressway because of a wasp. It is an irrational and completely unfounded fear. Through gardening, I've learned the value of all these critters and bugs and I know it is critical I be able to coexist with them. There is something about being in the dirt that puts it all in perspective. It has brought me a deep understanding of environmental issues and how my personal decisions affect the whole world on some level. And these things have had a clear effect on what and how I write on this blog.
Now that I've had a few years to psychoanalyze myself, my garden, my blog, I realize I was at a point in my life where I needed to create something to love and nurture. That it was probably a natural response to being in a long term loving and healthy relationship with my husband. For most folks that would mean having a baby. For me it turned out to be a garden. When I started that first vegetable garden the negative thoughts would sit in my head weighing me down, bringing all the self-loathing to the surface. I would probably neglect the garden. Not take care of it properly. Forget to or just be too lazy to water it. It would be like the skinny kid whose mom people were always asking "don't you ever feed that child?"
And then there's writing. I didn't know it was important when I started this blog but now there are times when I think the only reason I continue to garden is because it is a vehicle for writing. I have this conversation with one friend over and over. She has a garden blog, too. After a garden writer social event she'll say "I am not sure if I am really a blogger or if I am just a gardener." And I reply "I am not sure if I am a gardener or just a writer." I am still trying to figure it out.
In many ways the name of my blog is a reflection of my own self doubt. When I started that garden and this blog, I did not feel like I could or would provide the basic things a garden needs to live. I have become more confident over time and to my own surprise, I have had many successes but I still have an awful lot of failures. And there is still that period in the spring when I'm standing over my newly planted garden, the tiny tomatoes and peppers I have grown from seed now looking frail and overpowered by the black dirt around them. It's palpable, the sense of peace and gratification at war with the voice in my head that is still saying you are not smart enough. You are a quitter. This garden will never been as good as other people's gardens. Your writing will never be good enough.
For now, I'm trying to persevere.
Read Part 1 here
Read Part 2 here