Days Writing: 12
New Words: 3747
New Chapters: 1.25
Total Word-count: 42,497
Total Chapters: 12
Well, the main takeaway from April is that I did not get as much done as I had hoped. Out of the 22 days that I meant to write, I ended up with only 12. There were reasons for that. I had come to rely on a regular daily routine which got thrown out the window with COVID-19 and all that that entails. I wouldn’t say that I had less time to write because of it, but just that my usual cues of when to write were harder to pick up on.
More than that, though, we had a family project which consumed a lot of time, and after I had missed a few days in a row it became very easy to say “well, April is ruined, let’s just not worry about it anymore.”
Which is not the mentality I want to have with this project. I’ve always wanted the freedom to be able to say “this day is crazy, today I can’t write,” but in that case I want the next day to truly be a new day, not just an extension of the last. So I’m a bit disappointed in myself for giving up on a whole half-month because of one unforeseen disruption.
That being said: today is truly a new day, it doesn’t need to be an extension of the last. I can be both disappointed in how things went last month, and also let it go and not be bogged down by it.
With May I already have a couple things on the calendar that I know are going to limit my capacity to write, so I’m only going to set a goal for 19 days. And if I miss one of those, then I’m going to make a goal to try and get right back into a fresh perspective for the next day.
Before I leave, I wanted to start sharing small snippets of my work with each of these updates. I will try to choose things that are still “hot off the presses,” but that does mean they will still be a bit raw, and not quite in their final form. Here’s a little something that I put together during the last weeks of April.
“Your mother and siblings had a garden when you were a child?” Clara asks Eleanor as they work.
“Yes, both to grow our own food, and also to sell at the market.”
“Did your father ever help you?”
Eleanor laughs. “Well there was one time. He had a wealthy customer come in to pick up an order, and the two got to talking, and the man told him all about a new fruit that was coming to our country from the wilds of Africa! Large, red, and juicier than any other fruit on earth!”
“What was it?”
“Watermelon? But I’ve had watermelon.”
“Yes, because it migrated to our country during your father’s childhood and mine. We had never seen it before then.”
“I suppose that makes sense. Father said saffron and vanilla never grew here before we planted them either.”
“Yes, it was just like that. But my father heard about this new fruit and desperately wanted to try it. So he came to the market with us the very next day and found a man that was selling seeds for it. He took them home and planted them that night. Every day, after he closed up shop, he’d come out and tend to them. Never asked the rest of us to look out for them, in fact he wouldn’t hear of it. I think he was proud to have his own special project.”
“And was he pleased when they grew?”
“Well they never did. After the first week without so much as a sprout mother began asking if he wanted any help. Which of course he took as a slight against his honor,” Eleanor smiles in amusement. “So he refused, of course, and then it became a matter of us teasing him each day, asking when he was going to let those who knew how take a look after the crop. He must have tried a hundred different ways to get some life out of those seeds, but there was never so much as a green stem to show for it all.”
Eleanor pauses and looks to the horizon, her face shifting halfway from amusement towards ruefulness as the memories of those bygone days play through her mind. She stays a moment caught between the two emotions, then leans back to her work and continues with the story.
“It was a big joke to us for a while, but then we forgot all about it that winter…for that was the winter he got sick and passed away. The next year watermelon started showing up in earnest, and we finally got to see what all the fuss was about. I still remember the shock when I tried my first piece.”
“The seeds were not the same as what my father had planted the year prior.”
“What had he planted?”
“To this day I do not know, the man at the market had swindled him.”
“It is…” Eleanor agrees “and yet my father maintained a good humor through it all, and I honestly believe he would have been very tickled by the final punchline, if he had only been around to see it. So I’m not bitter about the setback he had, I only wish I could have heard his laugh at the end.”