One month ago, I made a pact with a couple of new writing partners. We would publish one blog post by the end of the month. It wasn’t my intention to wait until the literal last minute to do so… but here I am.
Writing for this space feels a little uncomfortable, like shrugging back into a shirt that once fit fine but now hangs differently than it used to. Despite the twisting and turning to view all my angles in the mirror, the question remains: does this still suit or is it something that would be better put away for good?
Our closets evolve like we do… items purchased and (hopefully) given (not thrown) away as our bodies and tastes change. My metaphorical writing closet changed likewise. Divorce. A sense of ill-fittedness. Writing about earlier topics seemed pointless, and I wasn’t making art to post. And finally a sense that no matter what I had written about before, and no matter my desire, nothing was currently compelling enough to share.
Still, the desire to write must mean something, I assume, even when it feels like there’s nothing to write about.
A day or two after making that pact with my writing partners, I noticed a thick pile of yellow goatsbeard tossed on top of the recycling bin. (The weed goatsbeard—salsify—not the garden flower Aruncus.) I assume my partner pulled them up as he was mowing the lawn and absent mindedly left them there as he went on to another task.
But what impressed me was how their necks arced up into the sunshine, blooming proudly despite being uprooted and in imminent danger of desiccation. After a few days, they all disappeared, tossed into the compost bucket to become amendments in some other garden or on some other lawn. Had I looked up information about them earlier, which I did today to make sure I was identifying them correctly, I might have been tempted to try roasting and eating the roots. Apparently they are edible.
Anyway, the point is that the sight prompted a lot of unformed, not-totally explored thoughts (not for lack of desire but for time, it’s been a busy month) about resilience and survival in non-ideal circumstances and the process of becoming (or maybe simply being) the one true thing that you are supposed to be. And clearly the one thing salsify is supposed to do is bloom, no matter the circumstances. (Yes, yes, there’s also a survival imperative and reproduction is the ultimate goal. But still.)
With humans, it’s a bit harder. Is being one thing, like a True North, that we strive toward all our lives? Or is it a bit more fluid… changing as your circumstances change? I rather think it’s both, which doesn’t make it a whit less confusing or challenging.
But it’s okay to leave it at that, I think—being a messy human in a (very, very) messy world that doesn’t always suit or accommodate, and that what being means… and what writing means… can change.