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Friday, 8 June 2012

Thoughts on a Damson

 It began with two damson trees. In the space of eight years these have proliferated to at least fifteen fresh saplings, and there would be even more if I didn’t cut the grass with metronome regularity and weed out others with trowel and spade.

 The damson tree knows know better. Its foliage is profuse, cold and heavy under grey skies, a fat, vibrant green when lavished by sun. But always busy above and below.

Every day I say to myself, I have no right to be sad or depressed. Grumpy and melancholic are much finer words so I’ll go with those. And most days I’m not. Recently, however, it’s been harder to shake off a sense of dissatisfaction when taking stock of the day, that moment before the head hits the pillow and sleep. There’s a sense I’ve done nothing, the time filled up with little things. Left to themselves inconsequentialities breed like mice and eat you up. 

Some things have to be done – like keeping my blessed damson trees in check – but other things are pointless accretions, like Face book and twitter feeds, emails – even blogs -when all these ‘displacement’ activities conspire and distract you from facing a blank screen and actually writing. The finest moments are being in ‘the zone’ when hours pass and you gradually realise you’ve created something worthwhile – something damson trees do as a matter of course. 

Pity the sad bonsai, roots and branches clipped to create something unnaturally small, a practice akin to Chinese foot-binding. In both cases others ‘create’ something from them. And that is the danger of ‘Facebook’ addiction -self inflicted - or allowing others to take too much of your time. Damson trees are boisterous, selfish and productive. 


Angela Brown said...

I don' think my mind would have linked the care required for a damson tree with the time-sucking nature of certain social media outlets we writers tend to "generously" pour our time.


LD Masterson said...

Yes. Reflecting at the end of the day, so little of what seemed important to get done really was and so much of the important was neglected. And yet I will do it again tomorrow.

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: There’s a sense I’ve done nothing, the time filled up with little things...

That's my nightly flagellation. But then I take comfort in what I did get done that day. And so should you.

I know full well the research and tomes you've written, beautiful words that need to be read. So while Facebook and blogs seem self-defeating, it is your words that keep bringing me back while I wait for those other words.

That, and the far off dream that you'll save me a bottle of plum wine on that fateful day I ever make it to the UK. :)

Mike Keyton said...

Angela I reckon you can find connections in almost everything.
LD. That last sentence of yours has the tragic ring of truth. Just got to fight it : )

Thank you for acutely diagnosing the problem and cheering me up. I guess, maybe, I was feeling a bit down and my mind meandered on the significance of damsons : ). And yes, Maria. You and Greg can fill your boots up (or whatever Texans do) with Damson wine...and jam...and chutney...and damson gin. I hope some day you can make it. You will always be welcome.

nikki broadwell said...

Thank you for reminding me to get back to the writing! Lovely imagery in this post--I can see the luscious deep purple fruit from thousands of miles away--Ultimately it is the little things that make a difference, I think...

Mike Keyton said...

Damsons in Arizona has a lovely sound to it but probably an impossibility. You're right, though, Nikki, the colour is beautiful and the taste rich and tart. Mind you, when you've stoned/pitted 50 or more lbs of them you end up with fingers stained like a man with a fifty cigarettes a day habit. Takes ages to scrub the stain away.

And thanks too for the compliment. My writing is sputtering at the moment because of distraction and some heavy editing commitments. Get to it!

Jay Paoloni said...

I like the metaphor of the damson.
I've had the same problem for a while before going back to sleep. There's some writing I have to deal with and I tend to postpone and postpone because, well, I don't really know how to start.
Must be 2012.
But I have no Facebook addiction, and that's a great thing!

Marguerite Butler said...

I had to google Damson trees. That means I learned something new and that's a win. I find that the older I get, the more the days fly. I start to panic that I haven't achieved everything I wanted to when I was young and hopeful. Social media can be a time drain, but can also be uplifting. Sometimes it helps to know we aren't alone.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Thanks for the feedback on my draft covers. Such a tough decision.

I wish now I had selected blue for the prequel...but I don't want to change it. But I like the two having the same color.


Mike Keyton said...

Jay, keep the inconsequentialities at bay : )

Marguerite, now all you have to do is taste one. Much better than plums : ) Ref social media, you're right but it needs some discipline...as the actress said to the bishop.

Mac, No regrets. Be blessed I'm not singing it.