Lately, this is how I envision my brain: shards of broken terracotta strewn across the potting bench. Where I once had a clear vision and firm ideas, I now feel a bit scattered and disorganized. My struggle is to figure out why — why I can’t seem to focus; can’t seem to be motivated; can’t seem to get back to my two posts a week schedule.
My first thought is that I have stumbled into a very bad case of bloggers’ block. Perhaps I’ve overextended myself — time needed for work and time dedicated to writing seem to be at odds with each other. Perhaps the freshest ideas have all been used in the first year of this blog — after all, once you write a piece on the joys of raking, how many more autumns can you possibly write the same thing?
Then, just as I try to make sense of all these thoughts and worries, stacking them just so — one piece falls from the pile and I soon find myself once again in the throes of worry.
Could this be something more serious? I’ve never been much of a hypochondriac (okay, I know I’ve diagnosed myself with Garden Separation Anxiety Disorder and Post Holiday Stress Disorder) — but could these disorganized thoughts be the result of a head injury from a car accident 15 years ago? Alzheimers? Adult-onset Attention Deficit Disorder?
The answer, actually, has been staring at me the whole time. When is a shard of terracotta no longer a shard of terracotta? When it is used as a cover for the hole in a terracotta pot.
Yes, reinvention — or rather the idea of it — is occupying all of my thoughts, and the inspiration for reinvention is surrounding me.
To begin, there are countless conversations that I either overhear or in which I participate — and I’m not the one saying the “R” word. Others are saying it. Others are searching for it. It’s as if there is a global shift on the horizon.
Next, there are many of you. As the blogging experience has progressed, I have made note of your careers and lives — not in a creepy stalker kind of way — but in how you have been able to combine your garden passion with your career. There’s Cheryl of Gardenhood and Elaine of Rainy Leaf and Mario of Hortus 5 and so many more from whom I draw inspiration.
Then there is my friend Danielle, who was recently profiled in More Magazine. Like so many people facing a changing job market, Danielle seized the moment and reinvented herself — going from an apparel merchandiser to a gourmet chocolatier. Her story is not only fascinating, but it’s tasty too!
And now, my pal-in-my-own-mind Martha Stewart — yes, Martha Stewart — is having to reinvent herself. According to a recent article in The New York Times, Martha’s company is facing financial stresses, but a new market of Brooklyn hipsters and crafters have taken a strong liking to the Stewart style. Now, she has to figure out a way to build a stronger connection with a younger demographic that may not buy her Martha line of goods but who are hungry for her crafty skills.
But what do I want to be when I grow up? I’ve already worked as a journalist and editor, and now as a school social worker — what will my next chapter be? Is there a book in me? Can this blog become a book? Is there a way to earn money from garden blogging? Can I be the Nitty Gritty Dirt Man? What will I write about for the next post and the post after that? I’m out of ideas and full of ideas all at the same time.
Why can’t it be a few months from now, when I’m snug and warm in my potting shed, planting seeds and finding inspiration to write and share?
And there it is: the potting shed — the place where I find my center. Suddenly, the pieces come together.
Reinvention is a process, no different than planting a seed and nurturing it until it roots and sprouts, stretches and flourishes — and if I don’t quite know the final destination on the road to reinvention, I’m looking for the on-ramp. I just need to sit back, breathe . . .
to enjoy the ride, breathe . . .
to not be afraid to ask for directions . . .