All my life and all my experience, the events that have befallen me, the people I have known, all my memories, dreams, fantasies, everything I have ever read, all of that has been chucked onto the compost heap, where over time it has rotted down to a dark, rich, organic mulch. The process of cellular breakdown makes it unrecognizable. Other people call it the imagination. I think of it as a compost heap. Every so often I take an idea, plant it in the compost, and wait. It feeds on the black stuff that used to be a life, takes its energy for its own. It germinates, . Takes root. Produces shoots. And so on and so forth, until one fine day I have a story, or a novel... Readers are fools. They believe all writing is autobiographical. And so it is, but not in the way they think. The writer's life needs time to rot away before it can be used to nourish a work of fiction. It must be allowed to decay.
The organic gardener does not think of throwing away the garbage. She knows that she needs the garbage. She is capable of transforming the garbage into compost, so that the compost can turn into lettuce, cucumber, radishes, and flowers again...With the energy of mindfulness, you can look into the garbage and say: I am not afraid. I am capable of transforming the garbage back into love.
With negative energy you can make the positive energy. A flower will become compost someday, but if you know how to transform the compost back into the flower, then you don't have to worry. You don't have to worry about your anger because you know how to handle it - to embrace, to recognize, and to transform it. So this is what is possible.
Just by breathing deeply on your anger, you will calm it. You are being mindful of your anger, not suppressing it... touching it with the energy of mindfulness. You are not denying it at all. When I speak about this to psychotherapists, I have some difficulty. When I say that anger makes us suffer, they take it to mean that anger is something negative to be removed. But I always say that anger is an organic thing, like love. Anger can become love. Our compost can become a rose. If we know how to take care of our compost... Anger is the same. It can be negative when we do not know how to handle it, but if we know how to handle our anger, it can be very positive. We do not need to throw anything away, " (50).
Thech Nháº¥t Háº¡nh
I've often wondered if the trade-off for growing up in the relative newness and freshness of the West Coast was befuddlement when it comes to historical preservation. We don't have many old things, and we don't really know what to do with the few that are around when our default response is to compost or field burn.
The better part of the man is soon ploughed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.
Henry David Thoreau
Let's just say that if these scientist had been using their brilliance for good instead of evil, cars would run off water vapor and leave fresh compost behind them; no one would be hungry; no one would be ill; all buildings would be earthquake-, bomb-, and flood-proof; and the world's entire economy would have collapsed and been replaced by one based on the value of chocolate.
I am open to the accusation that I see compost as an end it itself. But we do grow some real red damn tomatoes such as you can't get in the stores. And potatoes, beans, lettuce, collards, onions, squash, cauliflower, eggplant, carrots, peppers. Dirt in you own backyard, producing things you eat. Makes you wonder.
So let's not get frightened when the children read fantasy. It's the compost for a healthy mind. It stimulate s the inquisitive nodes, and there is some evidence that a rich internal fantasy life is as good and necessary for a child as healthy soil is for a plant, for much the same reasons.
In the '80s, I thought I'd be a success as a woman if I were the president of a billion dollar company, had a sensitive soul-mate husband, two bilingual children, buns of steels, and a compost heap. In the '90s, I pretty much feel I'm a success if I can get through the afternoon without eating a cheesecake.
We are big composters. We compost everything - bread, tea bags, coffee grounds. I even dump out my old coffee in the garden. We keep a mixing bowl on the counter and just fill it up as the day goes along, then dump it in the mulch pile before dinner and wash it with the dinner dishes.
I've frequently been asked over the years who Lily Savage was based on and I've always answered that it was no one in particular and she was just a figment of my imagination. The truth, I realise now, is that Lily owes a lot to the women I encountered in my childhood. Characteristics and attitudes were observed and absorbed, Aunty Chris's in particular, and they provided the roots and compost for the Lily that would germinate and grow later on.
One thing is all things. To resolve one matter, one must resolve all matters. Changing one thing changes all things. Once I made the decision to sow rice in the fall, I found that I could also stop transplanting, and plowing, and applying chemical fertilizers, and preparing compost, and spraying pesticides.
I thought I'd love to be a gardener because I grew up with a vegetable garden and I love being close to the Earth and growing things. At my home in L.A., I have a great garden and I grow all kinds of things. I even have a worm farm! The worms help create organic compost out of kitchen scraps.
All sorts of dung and compost contain some matter which, when mixed with the soil, ferments therein; and by such ferment dissolves, crumbles, and divides the earth very much. This is the chief and almost only use of dung. ... This proves, that its (manure) use is not to nourish, but to dissolve, i.e., divide the terrestrial matter, which affords nourishment to the Mouths of vegetable roots.His underestimate of the value of manure.
In my opinion, if there is one extremely legitimate use for petroleum besides running wood chippers and front-end loaders to handle compost, it's making plastic for season extension. It parks many of the trucks [for cross-country produce transportation]. With the trucks parked, greenhouses, tall tunnels, and more seasonal, localized eating, can we feed ourselves? We still have to answer that burning question.
Creative exhaustion is first cousin to writer's block. First off, I try to accept that when it hits, I am not wasting time, but preparing myself to return to work. I blog more. I do something different, like answering this question. If I can't force myself to finish a story, then perhaps it was not worth finishing. If I have to push rather than let it flow, it won't be as good as if I take more time, mess around in the garden and try to shove the guilt deep into the compost pile. I am still a writer so long as I am thinking!
I used to teach at an abused children's home. I told the kids, "You all have a manure pile of memories. Nothing you can do about that. Now you can drown in the stink or turn it into compost and grow a garden. I wouldn't't be as good a teacher to you if I didn't know what you're going through. That way, I make my memories do good instead of letting them eat me. I'm like Herbie from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. I pulled my Bumble's teeth. He's still big and scary but he can't bite me anymore.
All it takes is to pick up that one piece of trash you pass everyday on your way to work. Or to turn the water faucet off when you're brushing your teeth from afar. Or to compost. Or to buy 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. Or to utilize vintage stores and secondhand markets. Or to fully devote yourself to only buying vegetables from local sources. It is remarkably easy to incorporate sustainable choices into our everyday, busy lives.
Grant knew that people could not imagine geological time. Human life was lived on another scale of time entirely. An apple turned brown in a few minutes. Silverware turned black in a few days. A compost heap decayed in a season. A child grew up in a decade. None of these everyday human experiences prepared people to be able to imagine the meaning of eighty million years - the length of time that had passed since this little animal had died.
This is what I think about when I shovel compost into a wheelbarrow, and when I fill the long flower boxes, then press into rows the limp roots of red impatiens- the instant hand of Death always ready to burst forth from the sleeve of his voluminous cloak. Then the soil is full of marvels, bits of leaf like flakes off a fresco, red-brown pine needles, a beetle quick to burrow back under the loam. Then the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, the clouds a brighter white, and all I hear is the rasp of the steel edge against a round stone, the small plants singing with lifted faces, and the click of the sundial as one hour sweeps into the next.
No writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Francisco is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfrancisensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better. Even a failed loaf is not wasted. Likewise, cheese makers wash the dairy floor with whey. Tomato gardeners compost with rotten tomatoes. No writing is wasted: the words you can't put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better.
And I Said To My Soul, Be Loud Madden me back to an afternoon I carry in me not like a wound but like a will against a wound Give me again enough man to be the child choosing my own annihilations To make of this severed limb a wand to conjure a weapon to shatter dark matter of the dirt daubers' nests galaxies of glass Whacking glints bash-dancing on the cellar's fire I am the sound the sun would make if the sun could make a sound and the gasp of rot stabbed from the compost's lumpen living death is me O my life my war in a jar I shake you and shake you and may the best ant win For I am come a whirlwind of wasted things and I will ride this tantrum back to God until my fixed self, my fluorescent self my grief-nibbling, unbewildered, wall-to-wall self withers in me like a salted slug
We line up and make a lot of noise about big environmental problems like incinerators, waste dumps, acid rain, global warming and pollution. But we don't understand that when we add up all the tiny environmental problems each of us creates, we end up with those big environmental dilemmas. Humans are content to blame someone else, like government or corporations, for the messes we create, and yet we each continue doing the same things, day in and day out, that have created the problems. Sure, corporations create pollution. If they do, don't buy their products. If you have to buy their products (gasoline for example), keep it to a minimum. Sure, municipal waste incinerators pollute the air. Stop throwing trash away. Minimize your production of waste. Recycle. Buy food in bulk and avoid packaging waste. Simplify. Turn off your TV. Grow your own food. Make compost. Plant a garden. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. If you don't, who will?
from "Semele Recycled" But then your great voice rang out under the skies my name!- and all those private names for the parts and places that had loved you best. And they stirred in their nest of hay and dung. The distraught old ladies chasing their lost altar, and the seers pursuing my skull, their lost employment, and the tumbling boys, who wanted the magic marbles, and the runaway groom, and the fisherman's thirteen children, set up such a clamor, with their cries of "Miracle!" that our two bodies met like a thunderclap in midday- right at the corner of that wretched field with its broken fenceposts and startled, skinny cattle. We fell in a heap on the compost heap and all our loving parts made love at once, while the bystanders cheered and prayed and hid their eyes and then went decently about their business. And here is is, moonlight again; we've bathed in the river and are sweet and wholesome once more. We kneel side by side in the sand; we worship each other in whispers. But the inner parts remember fermenting hay, the comfortable odor of dung, the animal incense, and passion, its bloody labor, its birth and rebirth and decay.
Picnic, Lightning It is possible to be struck by a meteor or a single-engine plane while reading in a chair at home. Safes drop from rooftops and flatten the odd pedestrian mostly within the panels of the comics, but still, we know it is possible, as well as the flash of summer lightning, the thermos toppling over, spilling out on the grass. And we know the message can be delivered from within. The heart, no valentine, decides to quit after lunch, the power shut off like a switch, or a tiny dark ship is unmoored into the flow of the body's rivers, the brain a monastery, defenseless on the shore. This is what I think about when I shovel compost into a wheelbarrow, and when I fill the long flower boxes, then press into rows the limp roots of red impatiens- the instant hand of Death always ready to burst forth from the sleeve of his voluminous cloak. Then the soil is full of marvels, bits of leaf like flakes off a fresco, red-brown pine needles, a beetle quick to burrow back under the loam. Then the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, the clouds a brighter white, and all I hear is the rasp of the steel edge against a round stone, the small plants singing with lifted faces, and the click of the sundial as one hour sweeps into the next.