I am planting. I started teaching screenwriting in December, and so I am writing screenplays now. Short ones. I've written a few scripts before, but now I need to pull them into my wheelhouse rather than treating them as side adventures. Over the past three weeks, I collaborated with a colleague to write an 8-page script that we hope the film department will produce for the festival circuit. I am sending out my most polished novel to agents, and I am writing short things - poems, flash, threads of story for a novel with an ensemble cast.
The soil is fertile now, but it's been a long winter for us - three years of increasingly fallow living as we journeyed through my husband's illness. He has Type 2 diabetes, and a year after losing his eyesight, he lost his kidney function. Everything extra fell away from our lives, along with some of the essentials.
Our weekend adventures - we used to take meandering road trips.
Living in our downtown home - we have moved to a suburban townhouse.
My daughter - she moved in with her dad when the stress of living with terminal illness affected her too deeply to stay.
Some losses have measurable value. Others spread their bleeding emptiness through every layer of our being.
In January, we were blessed by a generous friend who gave Felix a kidney. While this hasn't brought back his eyesight, it's stabilized everything else. Felix is healthy and beginning to enjoy cooking and small adventures again. He and my daughter have laughed together a handful of times this year.
Without the 3-7 weekly medical visits involved in kidney failure, or the 30-mile drive (120 miles for two round trips daily) to and from my daughter's magnet school, I am left with time.
And a heap of compost.
Dead things that have collected in my soul over the past three years.
Sometimes, the smell overwhelms me, and I lay in bed and cry at all the loss.
But on good days, I sew handfuls of my decomposed life into the soil, and I write, and I wait for the gardenias to bloom.