Hair and compost….

Actually, you can compost hair. Who knew?

First, I have to say that I am not a born gardener. I can think of at least four reasons for my lack of interest in plant nurturing*:

1) When I was a kid, my sister and I were given responsibility for the front flower beds every summer. What this meant was, Dad did the fun part of picking out the flowers and planting them, and we were expected to weed and water “our” beds. Yeah, that’s a blast.

2) Gardening in Nevada is a constant test of your will vs the environment.

3) I’ve lived my entire adult life, until 2006, in rentals and moved frequently — why invest the time and energy in gardening?

4) Gardening takes up precious time that could better be used reading, crafting, watching movies, and hanging out (and in my younger days, playing RPGs).

But now I own a house and live in Iowa, where the question isn’t “how am I going to get things to grow?” but rather “how the hell am I going to keep up?” And so, I’ve become a gardener — a Darwinian gardener**, but a gardener nonetheless. And a measure of my new determination is…..my compost heap:

My friend Mark is going to swing by later this summer with a concrete saw and cut some of the blocks so we can lay true courses, but I wanted to get started and I thought this would be good enough for now. Since I went pure vegetarian, I’ve been throwing away so much more vegetable waste, plus I learned you can compost dog hair (Ricky is a constant donor) and dryer lint. I’ve already got some monstrous worms working away in there.

When I told my friend Jennifer about my heap, she connected it to my renewed efforts in fiction writing by quoting J.R.R. Tolkien:

One writes such a story [The Lord of the Rings] not out of the leaves of trees still to be observed, nor by means of botany and soil-science; but it grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mold of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps. No doubt there is much personal selection, as with a gardener: what one throws on one’s personal compost-heap; and my mold is evidently made largely of linguistic matter.

So writers are full of shit, but in a good way.

The renewed interest*** in writing started last summer, when I sent a story I’d written more than a decade ago in to a small press anthology and they bought it. (!!!!!) The book is coming out later this year and is titled Cthulhu Unbound, vol. 2. Volume one is just about to go to press right now. I didn’t announce the sale (my first professional fiction sale) here on the blog because I was so very, very excited that I think I told just about everyone who visits the blog anyway; also, putting it in writing like this seemed like a bit of a jinx. But I’ve seen the cover art for both books and the proofs of vol. one, so I guess it’s a go.

More exclamation points: !!!!!! I’m still pretty excited.

Now I’m working on revisions of 3 other old stories, an idea for a new one, and an idea for a novel. Part of that work is finding some discipline, and I think that, in the absence of a comfortable coffee house, I’ll start spending my summer mornings at the local library. Home is too distracting with the dogs and the parrot…and now the gardening.

On to the hair. No, not Ricky’s hair — my hair. I wrote before about my discovery that I have curly/wavy hair when I grew it out, after decades of wearing it very short, over the past year. After my trip to Madison, I went to my hairdresser and asked for a shaggy bob, about earlobe-length. She did a great job, which is not done justice in the following pictures (taking pics of your own hair is tough, especially the back). The style is blow-dried straighter in the front; the curls on the side and back are all natural.****

Now, in my life I’ve had Farrah hair, punk hair, bleached hair, red hair, french braided hair, permed hair,***** and crewcut hair. But I think this is the first time I’ve had cute hair. I like it.

*I don’t even have houseplants. Unless something in the house actively asks me for care, it’s gonna get ignored.

**If a plant can’t survive my half-hearted, half-assed care, it deserves to die.

***I didn’t write any new fiction during my 4-year Ph.D. program and only sent out one revised story (rejected). I did write lots of academic work, which I’m pleased to say did garner me some cash — $500 for Distinguished Dissertation and $750 for 2nd place in graduate research papers.

****I can’t do anything about the face; I’ve never taken a good picture in my life.

*****remember those awful ’70s tight perms?

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2 responses »

  1. very cute. you look different. professor-y. I look and feel tired, strung out and very post-surgery.

    good luck on the compost. Norman and Kara loved mine when we lived in Tulsa. loved to roll in it and steal decaying things, etc.

    we should talk soon.

    ooooo and Meg got into NMSU in Las Cruces! phd program in rhet and prof writing. woot!

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