The Plot Thus Far..

Outdoor reading, writing and tea-drinking nook

This blog has never been a story of my life but more a series of thoughts, ideas and experiments in pursuit of a particular way of life that interests me, that is, a life lived deeply, connected to the earth, and also lightly, attempting to keep the burden of consumption away from my door. Anyway, in the process, a lot of plot holes have developed that might be tricky to explain away later, so here I am attempting a bit of a catch up post.
Things that transpired last year: carpal tunnel surgery - went brilliantly, fixed carpal tunnel symptoms beautifully. Alas, some of what I thought were carpal tunnel symptoms turned out to be what I think may be arthritis. Nearly all gardening activities exacerbate painful hand symptoms. Ugh. I have given up all my garden work, except for a single garden, so am now living on a very reduced income. Luckily I am good at living on a very small income.
In other news, I finished the first draft of my novel. I was up at Paul's place one day in November, writing away, when suddenly I realised I was done. Surprise! We drank red wine and went to look at the tadpoles in the dam in celebration. Since then I have been revising, revising again, procrastinating about revising, and ignoring the whole thing completely in favour of Christmas and school holidays and lots of grown up children coming to visit etc, etc. I think I will need to do at least one more overhaul before I am happy that it is ready to send off into the wide world. But that is this year's project. Also, I have another novel in mind which I will begin as soon as this one is all polished and pretty. I still am getting articles published in each issue of Earth Garden magazine, which is lovely, though rather poorly paid work. My other project this year will be to find some other accommodating editors who might like to pay me for writing words so that I can earn a living behind my keyboard. I was very sad at the sudden end to my gardening career, which I had enjoyed immensely, and which was beginning to turn into a really useful income generator, however, here I am, contemplating a whole new life of writing, which I may not have been brave enough to tackle had I not been forced into it by circumstances.
There are generally child-related dramas which happen in all the families because children are people and they experiment with relationships and self-identity and careers and study and lack of careers, and oops, other study, and there are downs and ups and downs again. None of these are my stories to tell, but I am immensely proud of my four, who are bravely sailing into adulthood, finding out in the painful, experience-laden manner in which we all have to do, who they are, what they want, and how to navigate a course through the wild, terrifying, beautiful ocean that is life.
Recently my darling Rosy left home, and I miss her happy nature and her calm good sense, and Posy very much misses her sister and buddy. I am thankful that she has only moved to the other side of town, into a share house, and that we will all still be able to get together for dinner and catch up over cups of tea. A really marvellous plus is the raised vegie garden at the share house, over which I have been given free rein... extra vegie real estate. Oh, the riches.. oh, and there are apple trees. And a grape vine..
So that is me, continuing into this year with both trepidation and hope. I have so much good fortune in my life - good family, a darling partner in crime, a wonderful apricot tree, sweet cottage, nice black dog, marvellous friends, and also the readers of this blog who encourage and inspire me whenever I write, which makes my day more often than any of you can know.
And to all of you out there who come back here to read in this little corner of the internet occasionally, my wishes are for your very good health in these interesting times..

Indoor writing happens at the dining room table, or often the kitchen table if there is jam on the stove.


Deborah said…

Every time I decide you have stopped blogging I am enormously relieved to find you were just focused elsewhere! Well done of the book and sorry about the painful hand, an awful infliction. Deborahx
Anonymous said…
My friend, what a treat you get your update! Glad to know you and yours are living life with all it's ups and it's downs. You finished your book! Hoorah!
I raise my glass to you, to the new adventures this year will bring, to the healing of your hand (damn arthritis), to the publishing of your novel, and to all the in betweens in your life. I look forward to you sharing some of them with us!
Treaders said…
I'm so sorry you've had to give up your gardening venture. I could see it was something you really enjoyed. But having seen just a little of your determination already I'm sure you'll make it as a writer too. You've got what it takes. Good luck!
Beznarf27 said…
I am so sorry to hear about the end of your gardening business Jo. You are perfect for it. If I could swap my tendon's with you so that you could continue I would :( I love reading about your suburban exploits and SO envy your possum free garden. I am still defending the fort against everything that would snarf up any little thing that I do here and its teaching me to think smarter, not harder. We had some lumberjacks (for want of a better word, "wood cowboys" might be more appropriate) remove a couple of large trees that were right near the house and as horticulturalists, we were well aware that they were on their last legs (sometimes ignorance is bliss) so we saved up and paid to have them removed. On the plus side, Narnia (fully enclosed wicking fridge bed garden) is now sunny enough to grow tomatoes in and we got a LOT of firewood bang for our expensive buck but on the negative side the woody cowboys dropped a large limb on top of Narnia and broke the structure. Steve is working now so we haven't gotten around to fixing it till last weekend when we both put in a concerted effort to sort it out and now I can put in an autumn/winter garden. I am going to grow all things leafy and green as the rats are fussy about what they snarf and "green" is not their favourite colour.

I often think about you when I am in the city. I can't wait to read your novel. You can count me as "1" sale already and I would love to get you to sign my copy please :) Have a splendiferous day. Enjoy the heck out of it and may all of your simple pleasures be magnified :) <3
Jo said…
Deborah, thank you! I promise if I ever decide to give up blogging, I will at least pop back to say good-bye, but honestly, I don't anticipate that anytime soon. I also don't promise to blog more regularly, because, well, I just know myself..

Patricia, always good to hear from you as well! When I don't blog I miss you all and wonder how you are going.

Anna, I think I've finally got to a place where I can have a go at doing what i really want, with the knowledge that if it doesn't work out it probably won't be the end of the world and i will find something else to do. It's great to be middle-aged and devil-may-care:)

Fran, hey, come and visit me when you think of me in town:) Well done on the garden repairs - I know how everything has to be totally enclosed to keep the possums out. Paul optimistically planted pumpkins earlier in the year without proper protection, and the pumpkins are now history. I warned him.. still, it proved like nothing else that we have to build a fort/prison for the vegies up at his place. That will be a winter project. Here's hoping that your winter garden flourishes, and congratulations on all the sun and Steve's job!
simplelife said…
Gosh Jo, lovely to catch up with you here.
Sounds like lots of change and life happening for you and around you.
I do have some understanding of your physical limitations, it's quite the challenge to get your head around and accept, when the spirit is willing but the body less co-operative
Take care
cheers Kate
Jo said…
Kate, it's utterly infuriating as every part of me is fighting fit except for my hands and wrists. I could work for hours a day except that my hands down like the two particular actions that almost all of gardening consists of - the grasping action for pulling up weeds, and using secateurs for pruning. As you may be able to tell, I have still not achieved a state of Zen or Stoic acceptance about this! I hope that your situation is not too problematic, and that you are able to find work-arounds and a way to move forward. I am very fortunate that this can be the start of something new for me, and that I have options and support. I do realise how very easily this could be an utter disaster for someone in different circumstances..
Kathy said…
Yes life is full of ups and downs and twists and turns....when we all left home Mum used to invite us over for Sunday night roast dinner. This family tradition continued on for over 30 years until a couple of years ago when she got bowel cancer and had to go through chemo and recovery. She is not up to that any more. Sunday night was a great night to catch up because young adults usually go out Friday or Saturday night so Sunday night a free good feed and catch up with the family was perfect.
Anonymous said…
How nice to have you back, Jo. I was sorry to hear that your gardening career has been curtailed, but delighted that you have been able to work on completing the novel. I have been looking forward to its publication for years, since you first mentioned it, and I will be lining up with all the others for my copy when it hits the bookshops!

Trepidation and hope, yes. A little more trepidation but no less hope, thankfully, these days. You are indeed well-equipped to handle whatever is in store, so I wish you the best of things to come.

Linda in NZ
Jo said…
Kathy, that is a beautiful idea - it is so easy to let life get in the way of family catch ups - I find that myself with my mum and dad. What a good work around, to have a designated day to gather for dinner, and I'm so glad your family has all those memories to draw on now, both for you and for her. I hope she is getting on well xx

Linda, thank you! Believe me, you will all be the first to know, whatever the news is, good or bad:)
Mary said…
Lovely to hear how you are enjoying life. A nice dog of any color is always a good thing, and I do have a special soft spot for black ones.

When I started having arthritis in my hands I found that doing yoga poses which used body weight on opened flat hands (such as down dog, upward dog, cat-cow, etc) provided a good antidote. Take care.

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