Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pears, Poetry, or Prose?

September has its bittersweet choices: generally, I wake up during this month and realize that somehow I've whistled the summer away with the cricket and decide to become the ant again--writing, revising, or marketing my written stuff. Invaribly, though, I start wondering about the old pear tree in Anniston. Every year we think it will die. Every year its few remaining limbs cluster up with pears the way muscadines cluster. And then...well, some days words have to take a back seat to the fruits of the season.

When I come to this web site, I know that I truly am living on a different planet. Not a soul has responded to the Hudson Strode call and it's about time to turn that piece in to John Sledge at the Mobile Press-Register. Good thing I have my own resources. And yet that meter shows that a whole slew of people  have visited. That meter counts about the way I do.

No matter. I start off with some 2000 words in an essay which I know should only be 800 words long. Newspaper space is limited. So I trim, and whittle, and whack, and cut, and paste, and squeeze those words. I'm now down to 997, not counting the title. I've saved some of the "out takes." They're probably better just numbered on a page than the essay, cut, bleeding, and bandaided.

Numbers can take me right back to pears in an instant. Take a look at at the gold in my kitchen. After this batch Monday, on Tuesday I peeled, chopped, cooked, and canned six more pints with three half-pints of mostly syrup left over. My oldest sis who taught me this dying art, and who can not longer can anything, assured me that sometimes pears are just juicier than others. I'd already learned from her that if you make pear preserves every day until you die, you won't have one batch turn out the same. Old philosophy comes easier to her than what she did this morning.

It is a shame to know so much and not be able to say it. Honestly, isn't that why we blog? Who's going to sit and listen to our little personal daily drivel? Before last year I had at least three good friends who would. Today would be the birthday of Katonah Summertree; today is the death date of Carolyn Watson. Johnny Bowyer was a third; they all died within a three-month period in 2010. Both my parents died in separate Septembers. No wonder I feel the need to preserve precious things during this month.

Tuesday's gold.