Thursday, January 22, 2009

Words and Lawns

Last May, I overcame extreme anxiety and hit “send,” pushing two essays of the nest. I submitted these fledglings, the first non-academic work I’d submitted anywhere under my own name since age 16, for inclusion in a collection of creative non-fiction. Its editors are two writers and bloggers I’ve come to admire and respect.

The publication date, “fall of 2008,” implied a decision sometime around October. Apparently they did not receive enough submissions, and instead extended the deadline to December 31. Despite the standard “we cannot respond to inquiries about individual submissions” warning, I sent a “cheery little email” not long ago and received a form response. The project’s website has not been updated in any form or fashion; it still mentions the original submission deadline: May 15, 2008.

I do not have the confidence of the other Lithia Writers. I am meek. It was a huge leap of faith to hit that button. And you know what? When I sent those words away they somehow were no longer mine. The sending itself was the point of this event, not acceptance (or so I’m telling myself until the rejection email arrives).

All this brings me around to my lawn.

Every fall, in the hopes of continuous employment, a landscape service spreads winter rye seed over our two acres. The first time they did this, I blustered, “How dare they assume I want a green winter yard!” Then the compliments began to roll in and I learned to savor the feel of soft, cold green blades under my feet.

But this year? My yard looks like a Chia Pet undergoing chemotherapy.

You see, we’re experiencing a serious drought. Smack in the middle of all those biblical weather systems (floods, blizzards, Gulf hurricanes, etc.), we’re high and dry.

Here and there, hopeful patches of brilliant green have erupted among the brown dirt and sere Bermuda and St. Augustine. Looking down, I see hundreds of seeds, dreaming of germination.

This afternoon, I realized that my lawn resembles the writing life as well. Amid the drought of anxiety, we sow our seeds and we wait.

Here and there, celebration and growth!

There and here, patience and nothingness.

And you always have to mow, either way.

4 comments:

Christy Raedeke said...

And the weird thing is, of all of us in the LWC, you are probably the best writer.

I have never, will never, understand your lack of confidence in your writing.

Maybe this year?

Karen Maezen Miller said...

Well dearie, this is so much easier to tell you than tell myself. It is not you! It has nothing to do with you. Grass turns brown in the winter as it should; it even dies. As do anthology projects like (I bet) the one you refer to. To recruit, assemble and publish an anthology is like a Little Rascals show. You throw up a tent over a rope, set out the stools and see if anyone shows up. Keep sowing. The sprigs come up where you least expect them.

Sarah said...

How exciting. I hope they choose you. S

Kelly Hudgins said...

Christy: You're crazy if you think that about me!
Karen: Spot on, as always.
Sarah: You always send cheer from so far away....thanks.