It is full-on summer at the Clearing. New flowers each day, moose-tracks in the blueberry patch, bunnies, wild turkeys, quail, a fisher cat (or maybe a mink?). A couple of deer. Frogs, pollywogs and cute, fat toads. Madame Snapper made her appearance again on the exact same date as last year (see my entry “A Summer Solstice event at the Clearing”) and found her way from the pond, all the way around back, to the blueberry patch Eric planted (popular spot with the wildlife these days), buried herself almost completely in the dirt, and laid her eggs. The weather has been glorious with lots of sun and fairly civilized temps, mostly not too muggy, but when it is hot, thunderstorms roll through, bringing cool winds and dropping the temperature, almost instantaneously, by 10 degrees or more. We love that feature of New England summer climate! Last evening we sat on the screened-in porch of the red cabin and watched a storm descend, clouds roiling and trees thrashing—breath-taking, and sometimes scary. One night, as we sat on the back porch of the house during a violent storm, a lightning bolt shot down and with a deafening thunder-clap, struck a tree just a short way into the woods. That was all it took to scare little Jimmie and me right off the porch and into the house.
We head back to sunny Southern California for work in just five days. We’ll be there for two months. We can’t believe how fast time flies when we’re having fun. Doing our best to soak in, drink up, breathe every moment we have left in our northern Vermont paradise.
A few weeks ago I attended a writer’s workshop in Burlington, and a couple of us were sharing our blog URLs. One of the attendees, a former newspaper reporter, suddenly erupted, “Why do you people blog? I don’t understand it! You don’t get paid for it! You could be plagiarized! Why would you do that? Why would you waste your time??”
At first, being the being I am, I thought, wow, maybe I’ve been naive; maybe blogging is frivolous. Maybe it is a waste of time. Writing, writing, writing, so all the world (okay, my tiny handful of family and friends) can read it for FREE. Maybe I should be more savvy. More of a “bidness” woman. Charge money for my work. And am I really risking having my work stolen? (Which, of course, would be the ultimate compliment.) It took me a few minutes to realize, wait—that’s not why I write. It’s NOT work!* I write because I love to write. I write because I love to share my words with others. And from what I understand, publishing online means your work is already copyrighted on whatever site it is published, whether it be an online journal, or your own blog. (Although, I still need to “Google that shit,” as my brother-in-law John would say, just to be sure—because, as we are all well aware, the Great Google in cyberspace knows all.)
Recently, friends from high school visited us at the Clearing. One of them is an accomplished and talented photographer. I made mention he should try to get a job in the field—get paid for his art. Wouldn’t that be great? Getting paid for what he loves to do? His reply? A resounding NO. The last thing he wants to do is put his creativity under a microscope, himself under terrible deadline pressure. Then, rather than being a joy in his life, picture-taking would become stressful, it would be all about, “Is this good enough? Should I tweak it? Add more contrast, less shadow, antique it? Add highlights? Change the hue? Add a filter? Reduce the blue? More? Less? Lighter? Darker? Crop? Don’t crop? Start all over???” All he has to do now is tweak his photos the way HE likes them. Done! As much as I would not mind getting paid for what I love to do, I get it!
The gal in the workshop—well, she got paid all her life to write, and she is now retired and exploring creative non-fiction. Memoir to be specific. I am guessing her expectation is to eventually be paid. More power to her. I hope she succeeds. I would love to be paid someday for my writing, as well (be careful what you wish for), but—I’ll say it again—that is not why I write. I write because I love to write. Period. In fact, exclamation point! (End of story.)
*Well, except when I come down with an acute case of writer’s block…
Images of this gorgeous summer…
Me, soaking it all up with Eric (not pictured, but, rather, taking the picture) and poodles on a cool summer evening in late June.