When I Wasn’t Writing

When I Wasn’t Writing March 11, 2022

Anxiety and depression tend to creep up.

When they come with a bout of my old insomnia, they’re dreadful.

I’ve been a puddle for days, hence the writer’s block for which I apologize.

I’ve always wished that I had somebody interesting to show you, rather than Mary Pezzulo. Mary Pezzulo is a boring, neurotic, depressive person who writes articles for the pennies people throw. She lives in a boring, neurotic, depressive part of Northern Appalachia where people are cruel and nasty and there’s nothing to do for fun in the winter. Sometimes she gets so overwhelmed by her feelings that she can’t write when she means to, and then she gets even more anxious and depressed. She is not interesting.

My daughter, Rose, is interesting. She loves to listen to Hardy Boys audiobooks, and she gets cross that I insist she read a chapter of an actual print book a day for homeschooling. We are inventing our own series of Hardy Boys stories which we act out with her action figures. They concern Frank and Joe and their irritating little sister, whose name is Bincha and who always wears obnoxious 90s rainbow hair accessories. I get to improvise the character of Bincha. In Rose’s parodies, Frank and Joe are impulsive and not very smart, and Bincha keeps getting them out of jams. Their arch nemesis is their father, Fenton Hardy, formerly of the NYPD and now a criminal mastermind. Fenton Hardy’s partner in crime is a tech genius named “David Bound of Bound Industries.”  Awhile ago we pretended that the Hardys had gone to Paris to retrieve a stolen jewel-encrusted pocket watch called the Monterey Jack. Another time we pretended the Hardys were kidnapped by cultists who were trying to “summon a portal to the underworld.” Yesterday we played that David Bound and Fenton Hardy were stealing the declaration of independence.

She’s also typing out her own science fiction screenplay:

If you have to be a depressed, anxious, boring person who lives in Northern Appalachia and doesn’t like it, I recommend having a child like Rose. She is a very good antidepressant.

Earlier this week it snowed, heavily, the kind of snow that looks wonderfully pristine in December and makes me want to die in March. But the next day, the snow was gone. The sun came out. I saw crocuses blooming when I went for my walk.

Rose and I drove out to Rural King to get hay and treats for our ravenous guinea pig, McFluff. We stopped to admire the baby chicks and daydreamed about getting chickens and a collie dog, if we ever get out of the rental house. And then we found ourselves in the seed section.

I’d already gotten seeds, from the free heirloom catalog. They gave me a generous amount, enough to fill the beds at the community garden.  I didn’t need any seeds. But I browsed and daydreamed anyway, as I always do.

I thought about the beautiful garden that our harassing, abusive neighbor tried to destroy, and how I grew it back, and how she tried to make me panic in the dead of night, but I prevailed. I thought of how miserable I was last year, when her harassment escalated and I couldn’t grow a garden in my yard at all, and of how she tried to do even worse this winter. And then how she shut down for the whole month of February, with only one day of yelling instead of her usual much longer bout of mania. She gets a little less rational but a little less energetic every month. I thought about the security camera our friend sent us, and the nice vantage point from the back window, just in case.

I thought of how fun it would be to bring all the fixings for homemade vegetable soup to the Friendship Room to share.

Did I dare?

Yes I did.

I got a bag of seed potatoes and some more squash seed. I’m going to have my hidden, secret patch at the community garden no matter what. But I’m also going to have a small patch in my own backyard, despite all the harassment and abuse.  I will plant spring peas tomorrow in the backyard patch if the weather stays nice, and on Monday after the cold snap if it doesn’t.

Just resolving to do that made me feel a little less depressed.

On the way home, Rosie and I pretended more stories. And then I put the seed potatoes in a sunny window to sprout.

It felt like a prayer, an act of faith, an act of courage.

So, those are the boring things I’ve been up to when I should have been writing. I’ve been depressed, and pretending to be a detective, and planning a garden.

And I’ll write more tomorrow for sure.





Image via Pixabay

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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