Still Writing? Still Doing Stand-up?

When I bump into friends, they often ask:

Are you still writing? or

Are you doing stand-up these days?

“Yes” to the first. The collaborative gardening group that I lead has seen to that. We started May with 16 gardeners, the majority new to the group. Helping everyone find meaningful roles, or discern whether they wanted to continue after finding out what it was about, has been a labour of love.

Leading the garden involves a lot of writing. Documents like meeting agendas, reports, and e-mails to individuals and the whole group. More on that later.

The answer to the second is “not on the stage”. In the fall, I may take more courses in either stand up or storytelling, but I want to pause now to integrate what I’ve learned into my life.

Stand-up has been a vehicle for finding my voice. I’ve started to use it in other places. I phoned city hall to report a by-law infraction. I said “no” to a volunteer role that feels too risky just now. I am considering saying “yes” to another one that would ask me to bring fresh ideas to a group that is ripe for renewal.  Risky, but maybe a level I have the confidence to handle now.

Stand-up has also encouraged me to let out my playful side. Here’s part of the e-mail I sent the gardeners a few days before Mother’s Day weekend.

“Warm, sunny, dry weather predicted. Waterers are needed for this weekend!  …the garden needs two people for Saturday to do a deep watering and one person for Sunday to water the new plantings only …

If you are wavering, here are three theme-related reasons to water:

If you don’t have children, think of the plants as beings who will benefit from your care. They may not send you a Mothers’ Day card, but they will show their appreciation by growing up healthy.

As the water runs, you can pretend you are at a spa, and zone out thinking about the people who have mothered you and people or pets you have mothered, even if you’re a guy.

When you call your mother, she may be delighted to hear you’ve watered a garden and you won’t have to admit the other mischief you’ve been up to …”

One of the members stepped up for both days. I wonder what he didn’t want to tell his mother.


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