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The clamor of morning birds

 

Indira Ganesan, dawn/sunset, 2014

Indira Ganesan, dawn/sunset, 2014

 

At three? At four? When do the summer time birds begin their strident songs, their call to territory, food, enemies? It is as if I am in a jungle full of toucans, parrots, and peacocks, but it is the call of owls, finches, cardinals, and jays outside. Just now, they have quieted, but it is a  trick, for they begin again, warbling as the sun rises, as my coffee gets cold.  The birds wake the cats who in turn wake me.  I tell the cats it is too early for food, but they ignore my logic. They want to eat birds, I suppose, and poke me.  It is hours before the Sunday Times’ arrival.  In the early light, I decide to identify the tall, strong grass that has been rising steadily on the balcony.  It is quack grass.  Of course it is.  A noisome sound, an irritant to sleep. In the end, they will win, with luck, the birds and the weeds, while insomnia will fell us. Best have another cup in the face of it.

What I’m Reading this Summer

Indira Ganesan, Summer Reading, 2014

Indira Ganesan, Summer Reading, 2014

Long before I drenched myself in eau de bug spray, donned hat and gloves to weed and plant and rethink the garden, summer has meant reading.  Three months of reading novel after novel like chocolates.  For some years, when I taught full-time, I read mysteries: Dorothy Sayer, P.D. James, Martha Grimes, Reginald Hill, all of whom featured  reoccurring detectives, who like Hercule Poirot, most always got their criminal.  That is the appeal of the mystery: a glimpse into a horrific situation in which things will be put to right, and unlike in real life, justice prevails.  Kate Atkinson’s mysteries were a special treat, because  she, like James, was literary,but warmer.   Her sad-sack detective was winningly losing directions and falling for women who treat him dishonorably.  After I read Wallender and Steig Larsson, I stopped reading mysteries.  I felt as I had run out of good ones, and Jo Nesbo did not appeal. So this summer, I amassed my books to read for pleasure, thinking now is the time for Dostoevsky, for Hilary Mantel, and the Grantas that have been piling up.  But a friend told me of a thick, fat read, made for the summer, written by JK Rowling, featuring a detective who puts it all to right.  I dug right in.  I am told it is a series.

      then then a frie

At the Farmer’s Market

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Indira Ganesan, Late Market, Last Year, 2013.

After the orgy of capitalist spending in my last post, I went to the local Farmer’s Market for the first time this season. Old friends said hello, and we exchanged stories of surviving the harsh, harsh winter, which now seems a blur of sleet and snow. I picked up a Thai basil simply because it’s scent was transportive, and later some kale and sugar snaps. Focaccia and biscotti, and a brownie because I was told no one was buying any oddly enough, and the situation seemed dire. As I was leaving, one favorite vendor called me over, and as if she were passing a secret code, handed me a small head of lettuce. Add olive oil and and salt, she said,  and you can have it for lunch. I did, tossing in a little torn focaccia and Parmesan. Delicious.

Whole paych–Foods

Indira Ganesan, Can't Touch That, 2014

Indira Ganesan, Can’t Touch That, 2014

(The breads above are from a local boulangerie.)

Whole Foods finally opened on the Cape, and I spent a nostalgia-filled evening there after a play in Boston. I immediately spied the familiar pineapple chunks in a tub I haven’t seen in three years, the watercress that is not yet available elsewhere nearby, the pink lady apples. Though I am partial to my local health food store, a megalith has some different stock. Gulab Jamun in a can, check. Wild yam soba, check. Cold brew coffee in a bottle, check, please. There are still details to work out, like stocking Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies( I mean, this is Whole Foods, right?) and getting the black sesame slaw right.

I found my happiness ratio sharply increasing aisle by aisle. Is something sprayed in the air? Is it that luxury food shopping makes one feel better than shopping for clothes? Is it akin to buying shoes? It is easier, certainly. I needn’t decide between this color or that, but toss an item in my basket and moved on. Cardamom-coconut water? Lime-jalepeno chips? Organic socks?

I spent my paycheck, and came back the next day for more.

Back at the Ranch

Indira Ganesan, Ocean with jasmine plant, 2014

Indira Ganesan, Ocean with jasmine plant, 2014

 

The need for a place to settle down, sigh into the space, and make plans to leave and return are part of the appeal of “home.”  Luckily, I have another year to hang my hat to remain in the same place.  As a writer or artist, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown provides temporary low-cost housing to Former Fellows to move back to town and produce work.  Five artists do just that, writing and painting in a beach community known for supporting the arts since the time of the Provincetown Players and Eugene O’Neill.  Readers of this blog know how I applied for a lottery, and had my name drawn out of a hat to live here, how I packed out and moved from my beloved community in Boulder because I no longer had a job.  Many times the first year and second year,  I wondered if I had made the right choice.  I planted a garden, admired the landscape, watched my novel get published, began a new job, fostered kittens and their mom, lost a friend to cancer, and struck a deer with my car.  By the time 2014 rolled around, I was waiting to hear from various job applications, grants, and the Work Center.  The spring passed in a blur of waiting and uncertainty, as I wondered what plans I could make for the fall, if I could make plans.

 

Indira Ganesan, weather watchers

Indira Ganesan, weather watchers

I raked Craigslist looking for apartments in Boulder, in Cambridge, In Boston.  I looked at  Princeton, and wondered if I should move back home to my aging parents.  Several bored nights, I wondered if I should pull up stakes for England, or France, or Italy, go to India.  Behind all this question was the unspoken thought: where can I write?  People say one can write anywhere and at any time, but I think a writer needs an anchor, a place so familiar and  unbothered that one can lose oneself in the words.  Hotel rooms work, if they have a view, but  I have never had more than a few days day at one.  I have to live somewhere for three years before I trust it enough to venture forth with cohesion onto  the page.  I don’t mean I do not write at all; I write constantly, but bits and pieces., but the long narrative, for me, requires me to trust my environment completely.

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Just a few days ago, I found out I had another year in my home, a delight.  It is an earned year, a year to write, a year to teach  a course on American Women Writers, a subject close to my heart, and whatever else might fall my way or I reach for with aim.  It is a year to contemplate the next move.  A year to see if any dahlias other than the one so far will sprout, a year to  water the plans and plants. A year for the cats to turn another year over, and a year for me to appreciate every day of it.

Indira Ganesan, So Comfortable, 2014

Indira Ganesan, So Comfortable, 2014

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