This is what comes of too much running around: things get forgotten. I have lost something that I cannot function without--strange, when just three months ago I had never heard of it: a USB IFC cable, that gets my pictures out of my camera and into my computer. Where did I leave it? Washington D.C? New York? Boston? It'll turn up, these things always do (hopefully while I can still remember what it is for...does everyone have boxes full of unidentified coiling objects?) Even though I am back home in Rhode Island, and want to write about the ring-necked pheasant lately haunting my bird feeder, or the new guineachicks, and the old wooden boat a friend of mine has been getting ready to launch, and the plants unfurling summer banners....I have to write only about things whose pictures I have already loaded into the computer. This is not a slow love moment; I am in a slow burn of anxiety. (I have also managed to lose a note that I carried around for weeks, from someone inviting me to come see her garden nearby. I would love to, but who are you? where are you? Because of my poor housekeeping, accidental connections are leading to accidental disconnects. But please do not send me organizational tips. I know them all. It is the doing that is my undoing.)
Well then. Yes, I blog for free. That is a small price to pay for being able to freely speak my mind. I have found it inspiring and provocative to get smart, thoughtful, heartfelt responses to pieces I write--and quickly, too, while we're all still on the subject. Posting online does make me aware of how connected we can be; of course books do the same thing, but the voices don't carry as fast over the distance between my pages and your houses. One young writer wanted to know the difference between keeping a journal and blogging: I think of it as various drafts--journal being completely personal, intimate, rough (though many writers have kept journals hoping they would one day be published. Not me! I'm planning a bonfire of my vanities soon.) Blogging seems a step removed, and then writing for printed publication simply means more time to polish, and more people looking on and helping with the editing.
As for not being broke or homeless: that's right. I'm not. And it isn't just because I'm lucky. I had to work for a living. And I worked hard for many years, and saved money. It is a strange thing to realize that women seem to have to justify themselves this way more than men. I didn't live beyond my means (though of course now I wish I had saved more.) But the main thing I have to say about the criticism that I write from a place of privilege is this: so what? Just because my experience is not the same as someone else's doesn't make it either less valid, or less connective. It will be a sad day when readers and writers cannot reach one another, hear and see each other, across economic differences. Same for psychological, and gender, and race, and every other distinction, too.
I watched the ring-necked pheasant wander through my herb garden an hour ago, and he plucked all the flowers off the arugula. (Thank you; you saved me quite a bit of work.) I don't like those grocery store eggs that advertise vegetarian diets for the hens. They like bugs! They need the protein! And so do you, at least once a day, especially if you are in the slough of despond. It is nearly impossible to look into the yolky depths of a soft-boiled egg and not see the hope of a new day, sunshine, and a childlike vision of shimmering golden treasure. It is not easy to pick yourself up when you've been knocked down. But I have found that if I let myself be suffused with gratitude for the gorgeousness of the world's gifts, it quickens my heartbeat--and that's the beginning of getting going.