Friday, July 22, 2011

Heading into New Directions is Like Planting Peach Pits

            Thank you to everyone who has read previous posts about my figurative heirloom peach orchard. I hope it hasn’t been confusing, though, I know it has been boring at times because I’ve had to repeat to myself some of the lessons I was learning from the metaphor. I think, after a few months off writing here, that I’m finally starting to plant the peach pits.

It has made me wonder at how a peach pit goes from the woody hardness to a frail sapling, and of course, I had to do some research about that. Apparently, peach pits are poisonous! I suppose that is nature’s way of protecting the future of peaches. So, that’s a clue about new projects – surround them with a little “get back you fool” poison so that they have a chance to develop. This is important information for any writer to understand because we, being storytellers, are very tempted to unzip and reveal our very tender ideas right from the start – at least I am like that.  Grandiosity has been a way that I have prematurely exposed tender young ideas before they can get strong enough to grow. Therefore, I’m being as tight-lipped as I can about what I’m working on in hopes that roots will form.

It is an interesting exercise to talk around projects. I don’t like to appear as if I’m at home watching “Dr. Phil” and eating bon-bons. However, I sort of have to surrender to the possibility of appearing to be a homemaker in my everyday life. I know how lucky I am to be able to pursue it part-time with support. I do a lot of housewifely stuff with a measure of joy. Yes, yes, of course, as you know I have goals, peach pits growing, and maybe that’s all you need to know, but learning to take care of the home front is also a challenge I gladly take on. It wasn’t always this way. I used to, when I was working full-time,  hire a most wonderful housekeeper back in the day who I miss dearly every time I mop a floor or fold laundry. I have an altar of housekeeping appreciation for all of the help I once received. I learned to fold sheets from her; how to refresh cut flowers; how to pull my shirt up over my nose when using bleach and how to scour things out. My mom used to kick me out of the house on Saturdays to clean (which left me free to play and explore and I can’t regret that!) and so I really had no idea how to do much of anything at all.

Recently, I’ve been cognizant of the fact that I haven’t taught my children everything they need to know to be self-sufficient so I’ve been concentrating a lot on the art of delegating and teaching chore work much to their dismay. I know they’ll thank me someday. At our house for the last few years, we have had what we call “Labor Day” on Saturday or Sunday mornings when they are with me. The deal is that they have cleaning jobs to bring our home back into order, and then I cook a big, sumptuous breakfast and we sit down and share a meal mid-morning. Therefore, my ten-year-old son is learning to clean a bathroom. I have chosen this task for him for his future partner’s sake, whoever that may be; because I’ve noticed, boys do not really get how gross some of their bathroom habits are to clean up after. Let’s just say, he’s now more careful. My daughter has always had a penchant for wanting to decorate and bring stuff to her visual pleasure (which meant that at times my living room shelves have had Barbie tableaus or stuffed animals on the couch). Her job, therefore, is to clean the living room and I’ve put an end to additions, and instead encouraged her to consider editing. She often contributes to the bag of stuff that I take to Goodwill or Salvation Army almost on a monthly basis.  In fact, at age 14, she has transformed her own room from a stuffed animal and trinket palace to a grown up room. She protects her clearance of the living room like a hawk much of the time and so we are no longer inundated by piles of toys, and Lego injuries to our feet.

They’re away at camp this week so I get to see how two adults contribute to the mess that must be constantly de-cluttered. I’m no neat freak naturally. Therefore, I see the growing piles of unread newspapers and magazines as fiendish intrusions but I don’t necessarily deal with them until I can’t stand it anymore. These are things that used to be taken care of for me as I la-dee-dahed through my busy life. Now, I am learning to get rid of things much faster and that has filtered all the way down to my email in-box! Everyday, I’m learning to clear things out. I wish my home would post a banner over my door that read: “Woohoo! You’ve got no more junk lying around!”

I’m hoping these new formed habits will support the tender seedling to poke through the poisonwood so that one day I may share the fruits of my labor with the world. My intention, for the time being, is to share with my friends the struggle to form these better skills and habits that every new project needs to support growth.

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