I have low expectations for today. First of all, I have a ton of crap I have to get done and all of it involves me cleaning my desk up in order to unearth the proper paperwork. This will require some organizing. I’m good at organizing so normally this wouldn’t stretch my skills or make my head hurt (much), but last night I woke up around 1am and until around 3:30am I didn’t sleep. I almost gave up and got out of bed to write, or something, but I didn’t have a project to work on. I mean, what with this crazy writer’s block that’s kicking my ass. So I’m not in prime shape. After getting Max off to school I planned on crawling back into bed to get some quiet rest with my people and their noises gone. But when I crawled back into bed not even a single cell of my body was sleepy. Wide fucking awake. Every single cell. Not just awake, but AWAKE.
It all sounds dire, doesn’t it? But it’s not. (Except for the crazy amount of taxes we get to pay, that’s still dire) I just had three great days in a row. That used to happen fairly often in my life. When you have mental illness you come to accept that a certain number of days of the week will be overshadowed by some kind of gripping dread or hours blackened by the tar pit of depression. But in a well managed mentally ill life you learn to expect more of those normal days in which good and bad live in harmony with each other. I miss that a lot. So when I get more than one good day in a row it’s something worth noting, celebrating, enjoying, and sharing.
There was cheese and beer and avocados in the house all at the same time! I got to do a special project at work involving making lists – I LOVE making lists!! Then I got to spend some time brainstorming for a new writing project I’m doing with my friend Emma.
Some of you saw it on Facebook already so I feel I can tell you this much: the other day I was thinking about how cool it would be to write a post apocalyptic cookbook – an irreverent book with real recipes for disastrous times. I mentioned that I would obviously need a partner to write this book with because meat must be included and I had my eye set on two possible people. But really only one, because the other one has no actual writing ambition even though she’s got mad roadkill eating skills. (Seriously). So I really only had my friend Emma in mind because she’s been a food writer for a few years and went to culinary school and her first book will soon be headed to the printers. I was trying to imagine how I could entice her into doing this project with me when she told me she hoped she was one of the writers I had in mind and wanted IN!
So brainstorming for a couple of hours was awesome. When you’re experiencing writer’s block I think sometimes the thing to do is start a whole new writing project! Something really different from what you are working on that’s got your brain all seized up. It’s like pumping fresh blood into the imagination. With non-fiction you don’t write the whole book before you approach agents, you write a detailed proposal. Essentially you plan out all your chapters and content and write out one or two sample chapters. My head is full of ideas and excitement.
I also took a two mile walk with my dog in the gorgeous weather.
I played with “food”. (See picture above) I’m working on developing a new series on Stitch and Boots revolving around over the top ridiculous food trends. I want to combine different trends together to make truly repulsive yet compelling combinations. It’s meant to be fun, not real. For me it’s like making mud pies, only the results are less edible. Playing with food like this reminds me of my first experiments in the kitchen when I was a kid. Most of my child hood memories are not light and fun to revisit – but this is. I did make the famous mud pies of nostalgic youth – I made elaborate ones. I also once made a doll out of mud. That was kind of weird. But eventually I got into the kitchen and tried out various combinations of flour and peanut butter and jam and sometimes sugar and water. Almost always inedible but always so much fun! That’s what Saturday was like. Play time.
Easter. Giant basket of bad-ass tooth rotting gut bloating sinister processed weird candy for the kid. No god for us on Easter. We talked about the meaning of Easter for the non-religious being similar to the meaning Christians attach to it, but less specific, more metaphoric, a little less creepy (no dead people rising from tombs).* For us it’s all about the renewal of life in nature that spring brings. The buds breaking on the trees, the dormant perennials busting out of the earth. Animals giving birth to young. Insects beginning a cycle of pollination and humans planning and planting their early spring gardens. Plus candy. Candy, in case you’re skeptical of its place in Easter celebrations, represents the ridiculous abundance of the earth.
I wanted to get outside. It was warm and sunny and I suppose I was riding on the high of having had two really good days preceding it. I had to work so I worked for a few hours and plotted how I would get my son outside. He now dislikes the beach and our previous favorite forest spot. I told him I wanted to celebrate Easter with my family by going out into nature for a little walk or something. He says “But I’ve already gone somewhere this weekend.” Meaning “I’ve left the house once in three days, isn’t that enough for you?!”. So speaketh my budding agoraphobe. I used the tactic that nearly always works with him. I told him he was going to get out in nature, he didn’t get to opt out, but he gets to choose where. I always include outings of various distance and effort. If he wants to choose a quick walk around the nearest park, that’s okay, it’s outside, it’s walking, and we get to spend time together. He chose to go to Grand Island for a wee walk.
It was uncomfortably warm for us, actually. A bit muggy. Blech! But the drive was enjoyable. Our conversation revolved exclusively around how to survive a zombie apocalypse. My kid is an expert on this. Then we walked the muddy trail along the river looking at moss, sticks, sticks with moss, spiders, bumble bees, and poplar trees. We could smell the soapy perfume of the poplars too – balm of Gilead. I showed Max and Philip the source of the smell, something my friend Nicole taught me. I also showed Max what plantain looks like, suggesting that if you were on the run from zombies you might want to keep your eye out for this plant as it is common and a great medicinal. He asked why we don’t cut some and dry it to keep it on hand (smart kid) and I said I do! I have some at home.
I found nettles. Most of them were quite muddy so I didn’t cut as much as I’d like but I can go back another time. I got a bag full of it and will cook with it, probably today. That is a joy to me. Foraging for greens, hanging out with my guys, and hearing the quiet. But without ticks. We saw two garter snakes and then, on our way out of the park, we saw a tall pole with an eagle’s nest on it that actually had an eagle in it! He had a white head and the shape of him makes us think he was a bald eagle. That was the highlight of the whole day. I see lots of hawks around but rarely see eagles.
A perfect three days. So I fully expect today to be less than stellar. No one can expect more than three great days in a row. But at least I can think about the good one while sorting my papers.
I wish upon all of you three great days too!
*I am perfectly aware that some Christians view Jesus’ act of rising from the dead as being metaphorical too. But many believe it literally. In my experience of life it is best that dead things remain dead and should never rise from their graves, especially not after three days. I don’t call it a miracle when something rises from the tomb so much as I call it a great time to grab your shot gun and load it with a silver bullet, just to cover your bases, because you have most likely landed right in the middle of a Buffy episode.