I really should stop promising things, like daily blog posts, publicly. I should just promise them to myself, so you all don't know how terrible I have been doing at living up to such promises. I have actually been having all-around motivation problems lately. Yesterday, I did nothing much but lie in bed, finish my novel, and read the introduction to Beowulf in the Norton Anthology. How productive. I could blame my lack of motivation on the recent heat wave, but I think actually it's more the internal desert that is resulting in my failure to follow-through, given that it was (thank god) in the 70s yesterday.
So that leaves me here. In my last, but not-so-recent post, I mentioned that I haven't been doing well at growing anything but gourds. The one volunteer tomato plant that I couldn't bear to rip out, and instead moved to a pot on the deck, has actually begun to produce several hard green balls which will eventually be tomatoes that we can actually eat. The rest of the garden, not so much. For those of you keeping track at home, that means that my only two successful vegetables were a gourd I did not plant and do not necessarily want, and a tomato plant which I did not plant, but do want. Everything I have intentionally tried to grow has been floundering under the onslaught of slugs, heat, lack of proper soil, and squirrels.
I realize I have gotten into the rather annoying habit of seeing my garden as a metaphor for the rest of my life, but I'm going to indulge this habit once more. In case you were paying attention, I took the GRE a few weeks ago, shortly before my trip abroad. I did.... fine. I guess. I did well, if you look at the raw numbers. I did not do as well as I wanted to, or as well as I thought I would based on the practice tests. Everyone who I actually tell my score to has been very nice and reassuring that it's a good score, but that does not seem to help me much. The score has created room for all manner of self-doubt. Should I go to graduate school, really? Do I still want to go to graduate school? What if I don't get in anywhere, then what?
I look at the people around me who have those life-long dreams, and am so envious I can barely stand it. We have a friend who owns the sandwich shop in town. She said to me that when she was in sixth grade, she had to write one of those "what I want to be when I grow up" essays. You know what she said she wanted to do? Own a sandwich shop. When I attempted a similar exercise in sixth grade, you know what I said? Nothing. I sat there wringing my hands until it was time for math class, and had to take the assignment home. I stayed up half the night worrying about what I was going to be when I grew up, and finally wrote "actress" or something, for lack of a better idea. And so, for the two of us, not much has changed. We are both living our dream, such as it is. She is running her sandwich shop, and I am wringing my hands.
I am also, however, cultivating my volunteer tomatoes with care. I told you I was, annoyingly, going to look at the garden as a metaphor for life, yet again, and here it is: All of the things I have tried so hard on, are floundering. And yet, still little miracles have popped up while my back has been turned. I have Kathy, I have a place on the beach for the summer. I have horseback riding lessons, which bring me joy. I have useless but funny-looking gourds, and tomatoes volunteering to fill in where the intentionally planted ones are failing.