On June 11 I returned home from the Wildbranch Writing Workshop, hosted at Sterling College and co-sponsored by Orion Magazine. I reveled in the luxury of a week immersed in writing, in being able to wake up everyday and know all I needed to do was write, and though there are certain luxuries in farming that I love, free time is not usually one of them. Instead of spending three hours every morning with a pen and paper, I spend time walking through fields and feeding animals. Farming and writing have their own rhythms, and I’m learning to do both at once by carrying a small notepad in my pocket and jotting down details, like the sweetness of tiny corn stalks when I bite and squeeze their syrup onto my tongue as I weed and thin the rows.
And how the heat of the hayloft and the sweet smell of square bales makes me crave banana bread.
It is always a balance, and it sometimes feels like a struggle, finding time for writing while farming. At Wildbranch, I was able to talk with both full-time writers and writers who have other jobs as well, and as I compared the two for myself, I realized how much I’d miss the animals and the soil if I did not work with them. For me, inspiration comes through action and through integrating myself with the environment, and every once in a while there comes a rainy day, like today, and I sit longer than ten minutes to put pen to paper.