When my friend Gill How asked me if I would take the baton in a ‘blogging tour’, my immediate impulse was eek, no! Then I reflected on my habit of shying away from anything remotely public, and decided instead to be bold. So here is my contribution, answering the 4 questions and then introducing 3 more writers to continue the process.
Question 1 – What am I working on?
Every year at this time it seems impossible that productive abundance will resurrect from the cold, wet and daunting aftermath of winter. How will I ever manage all the digging, composting, planning, planting, germinating, potting on, hardening off, structuring, juxtapositioning etc etc? So right now I’m somewhere in that whirl, working on the 2014 version, trusting that fruitful order will emerge and remembering that the miracle of the real work is done by Mother Nature, with my job just to be the caretaker.
Question 2 – How does my work differ from others of this genre?
Allotment plots are all unique, even those that follow traditional lines and contain the same plants. So my dear little huerto, and by extension this blog about it, I suppose differs from others in being an expression of my particular engagement with the annual cycle of creation; what I choose and how I then respond to what happens. Not everyone diligently picks out the teeny little stones and whispers encouragement to the weakest seedling.
Question 3 – Why do I write what I do?
Not unlike Candide, after his painful disillusionment that all, in fact, is probably not for the best in this best of all possible worlds, I find practical consolation in his injunction, il faut cultiver le jardin. I also love my dear friend Shahzadi’s thought that cultivating just a tiny piece of ground with tender care can be thought of as a homeopathic remedy for our beautiful yet sick planet. Writing about it is a practical journal and, perhaps, also allegory.
Question 4 – How does my writing process work?
Hmm, I hadn’t realised I had a process. However, on reflection I notice that it goes like this: every so often something stands out for me that I want to capture; horticultural, practical, observational or just delightful. Then to record it I generally take photos with my phone (rather hazardous, that, especially when wet and muddy) and when I get home, still in my dirty old gardening clothes, sit down and put it straight on to the blog. I also twiddle with the layout so as to avoid what they used to call ‘orphans and widows’. Amazing how you can prune writing to fit the space…
And now to introduce my friends who will offer the next stops on the tour:
Arpy Shively Arpy has been writing professionally since 1993, everything from ad copy, brochures and press releases to websites and online articles. After working in the UK and US, she came to Spain and started writing travel and lifestyle articles, including the Andalucia section of the 2008 Lonely Planet Spain Guide. Since 2006 she has been posting fitfully on her blog Andalucid, first about small town life in the Alpujarras, near Granada, and since 2012 about big, beautiful Málaga.
Ashen Venema is a poet, photographer and writer. She says: Poetry and photography have long been means of creative witnessing. It’s only in recent years that I committed time to serious writing. My blog allows me to share my window on the world. Course of Mirrors, my first novel, is an engaging quest journey of a woman in search for the real, due to be published in the autumn.
Meg Robinson is an Irish artist- writer with Scottish connections who loves to travel to remote corners of the world. She runs creative, spiritual, and shamanic retreats from her home in southern Spain. In March 2008 Meg visited Peru and fell in love with the country and its people, becoming a fund raiser for a charity near Machu Picchu and later visiting Bolivia to meet Ivan Nogales, creator of an arts/theatre centre for street children for whom she is also an indefatigable fund raiser.