Storytellers and Coffee Shops

I’ve had this little project tucked in its folder for the last month. Today, I pulled it out again—reading through it all and making notes. Being a freelance journalist is my dream and goal, but since I was little, I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Who says I can’t be a writer of both non-fiction and fiction? 

I worked on this story for my last semester of college, it was supposed to be a finished novella by the end of the semester; however, it took so many twists and turns (and I am a way slower writer of fiction than I thought I was) the story changed so much. By the end, I only came out with about 20 good(ish) pages. Today I have determinded that I’m going to keep working on it.

I’m not sure what it’s going to be once it’s finished, maybe that novella, maybe a novel, maybe just a story the little kid I was growing up needed, but, no matter what it turns into, I’m going to show up and write it. 

Summer Garden // 01

When I was a kid, my mom used to grow a huge garden every summer. It was a raised garden bed, made out of wood two by fours. The bed was about four feet wide but rain the entire length of the yard. Our yard wasn’t that big, but the garden always seemed huge to me. It hosted an array of plants–peas and green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes, carrots and lettuce, and a variety of herbs ranging from thyme to rosemary. There was also a smaller garden on the side of the yard where a strawberry plan liked to expand its vines, always came back larger and larger every season.

I remember that garden because it provided the staples for our summer dishes. We’d make jams and jellies and chop up the carrots to go along with the chicken ‘n noodles. We had so many tomatoes and cucumbers that we’d canned some of them for the colder months.

My Mom’s Garden – Circa 2012

I’ve had relatively small gardens myself since then. Nothing more than a few herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and, this year, spinach. They are in raised garden beds, but not the kind made out of wood slates that are a big as the yard allows, but ones that are plastic and sit nicely on a patio deck.

When spending all of the prior cold months inside, it makes me excited to spread out all the green and tend to something that I can harvest later. It also reminds me of when I was a kid, gardening with my mom in the months of May, June, July, and August.

Since this spring was my senior year in college, I spent most of my time with my head in the books while on campus. I didn’t have much time to shop at gardening stores or Lowes for seeds or even started plants. However, my school has its own greenhouse on top of the science and technology building, and–at the end of every semester–the biology club sells the pants from the greenhouse. So, miraculously, I picked up the few staples I grow every summer thanks to the break that I took studying and the biology club.

The only small thing that this came with was I had to bring the plants with me to class the rest of the day. It wasn’t so bad, I just had a lot of people commenting on my plant babies.

They had a nice little box to sit in while I toted them around.

Now that they’re planted in my garden, they have been growing steadily. My tomatoes have stemmed out and have become fuller, while my lettuce is becoming leafier. I’ve already harvested a few leaves from the basil plant. The rosemary and parsley haven’t grown too much, but they’re a bit slower at growth. I added fertilizer to the beds a few days ago, the growth of all the plants started to become stagnate and it made me worry, but as soon as I fed the little baby plants they’ve been lively since. I planted spinach by seed a few days ago. It’s slightly late in the spring seasons to plant the first batch of spinach, so they haven’t sprouted yet. Hopefully, they will sprout soon.

I’m looking forward to harvesting the first of my lettuce soon, hopefully, the tomatoes will come shortly after. I’ve been looking for good recipes so I can use my herbs in summery dishes. Maybe I can make a full-on meal with everything I’ve grown, substituting a few things from the grocery store.

The whole process of growing plants and getting to use their harvest is both humbling and satisfactory. I hope this tiny garden that I’ve had the past few years can grow into a larger one in the years to come, just like the one my mom used to tend to in the summer months when I was a kid.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even get into winter gardening, something that’s always peaked my interested but I’ve never ventured out to try.

The Quotes That Have Stuck With Me

Saturday was the official end of an era: I graduated from college. The days of backpacks filled with books so heavy your shoulders hurt, a desk filled with used coffee cups, and early bird/late owl classes have come to an end.

I’ve been out of classes for a week. It’s a crazy feeling, I still have a to do list and places to be, but the feeling of being done with a huge milestone is just like a wieght off my sholders. I started to clean off my desk today and while I was in the midst of moving around some papers, I found a few a few pieces of paper with quotes on them that have stayed with me, some how or another, throughout my life as a student.

They mostly have to do with the unknown, having confidence, and being yourself. I know they will stay with me, even after school. But inlight that I now have the depolma coming to me by mail in about two months, I’ll post them, hoping they will inspire you.

“If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next, don’t be. Be brave. Embrace your the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenged you to exercise both your heart and you rmind as you create your own path towards happiness; don’t waste time with regrat. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes, because you’ll never get one like it again. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breatha dn start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart… where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again. ” -Everwood

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remeber. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” – A.A. Milne

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without careing twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine time out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” – C.S. Lewis

Warm Temps and Listening Ears

The temperature is warming up outside and I have left my coat at home THREE times this week so I think it’s offical: spring has made it’s way to the midwestern state of corn and race car drivers.

I have recently wrote an article for Indianapolis Monthly on hammocking which will be published in the coming months. It has made me so excited to get out my own hammock soon with the warmth on the rising.

Along with the hope of getting to take a swing in in my hammcok soon, posting on this blog weekly has always been one thing I’ve always hoped to dedicate to; however, with the ups and down of student life it’s difficult to scheudal in time to write admist all the papers and required reading and deadline and trips to go get coffee so you can do it all.

But the bitter sweet news is that student life is almost to an end. I’m graduting college with my BA in English within a month. Then it’s time to move on with the next chapter. (The next chapter will definaily include writing on this blog more.)

For the meantime, though, here are a few things I’ve been listening to. I always seem to be listning to something, whether it’s an audio version of a book I have to be reading for class or a song I just can’t get out of my head. These three things have been my favorites, though.

Here is a podcast I’ve been listening too called Simple. Tsh Oxenreider is a wonderful host who asks the best questions to whoever she is hosting. The topics are always thought provoking and relevant.

Here is a song I’ve been listening to on repeat in my car. (Yesterday with the windows down because yay warmth!)

Here is an audiobook I’ve been listening too while I shuffle loads of laundry through the washer and scrub dishes clean. Chaning Slow is written by Indiana based Erin Loechner and I just love her and her story.

What is something YOU have been listening too? Let me know in the comments below. (Also, is it starting to warm up where you are?)

Growth

Right before this photos was taken, I took a different photo.

It was of a cityscape where sucess is stacked in concrete scrapers that reach upwards, waiting for the dreamers.

But this photo has my feet planted on the ground.

There is nothing spectacular about this photo, it’s just me and the parking lot.

This is where I stand.

The future can be a scary thing, but right now, I am here.