Beans vs. Soup

It’s been almost a year since I last blogged. This may come as no surprise to many writers who’ve said they, too, felt as though their muse has been hiding under a blanket. In the closet. In that back corner that the light never seems to reach. Behind the boxes of clothes you always plan to donate and never manage to deliver. Yeah. Back there. Writing of any kind in a time like these last two years can feel like digging carrots out of hard clay soil. Technically, you get a harvest, but the result will be stunted, warped, and funky. For me, it was so labor intensive I often avoided it altogether until the voices in my head left me no alternative.

Blogging’s even harder because seriously, in a pandemic when many of us are still hesitant to leave our homes even while masked, what have we done that was worth writing about? Or reading about, for that matter? Binge-watching old television shows only carries one so far in this regard. It’s like eating plain beans day after day. It’ll keep you on this side of the garden plot, but it isn’t something you’d write home about.

Recently, though the Bobinator and I have begun to venture out. Once we went out to dinner. Twice we’ve gone to play pool and eat fabulous fries at a local pool hall. And this past weekend, I braved the Hampton Roads Writers Conference, their 13th and my 7th (including the virtual one from last year, and not counting the year of the hurricane-that-wasn’t). Everyone wore masks and donned gloves for handling common serving implements at the buffet. The crowds weren’t as thick, and the staff of the conference and the hotel took every precaution they could to keep us all safe, so I felt relatively secure in braving this adventure.

It was there, in a break-out session on blogging, that the light bulb went on in my head, saying, “Hey, why don’t you combine both your blog pages into one resource?”

To be fair, I thought before that separating my posts on writing into a blog of their own would be the smart thing to do in case that one perfect agent came to review my writing history and resources. My other blog, where I meander through spirituality, social issues, nature expressions, and personal growth, felt off-topic. But a year of no variety beyond the walls of our apartment, the drive to work, and the walls of my office have made it clear to me that these “off-topic” posts could be like salt and pepper for plain beans.

Additional topics like beliefs, experiences, or world-views may concoct a more savory taste of a writer’s life in the same way onions, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes could turn my beans into hearty soup—comfort in a bowl, and much more satisfying than beans alone. A writer’s life away from the desk is as important as what happens at the keyboard. It’s those non-writing experiences that feed our inspiration, fuel our fires, ripen our ideas.

So over the next few weeks, I’ll be harvesting posts from my secondary blog (most of which are old, but still relevant to who I am as a person and as a writer), as well as posts from my social media, to blend into the mix here. I hope something will spark a story idea for my fellow writers or offer encouraging fare to others who come to see what writing—and a writer’s life—are all about.

Oh and, before you go, would you please pass the salt?

Beans Photo by Tijana Drndarski on  Unsplash
Spices Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash
Soup Photo by Janine Meuche on Unsplash