My Fig Tree


My life is full of fits and starts– grand ideas, half finished projects, unrealized dreams. Always has been. In fact, it was what my very first blog post was about way back when. It’s extremely frustrating to me. In my adulthood, I’ve become painfully aware of this shortcoming of mine, and I work every day toward consistency and follow-through, but it’s hard. I don’t know why. Something in my wiring I’m sure. Part of it is self-doubt; I suspect part of it is a touch of ADD; and part of it is that I want to do so many things. So many things.

I remember reading The Bell Jar in college, and it contains this passage that has resonated with me more than any other piece of fiction I have ever read:

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.  From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.  I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7

It still resonates with me, and I still feel stuck in that tree. If I could just choose a fig, I know it would be wonderful. But even at age 44, I still want them all. I know I can’t have them all, and pining for the lost ones and not choosing from those that still remain are huge obstacle I need to overcome.

I have work to do.

Right now my fig tree holds so many  futures that “beckon and wink.” I want to be a writer. I want to be a professional blogger. I want to be a web designer and HTML expert. I want to be a master scrapbooker and own a shop. I want to be an interior designer. I want to be a screenwriter. I want to be a documentarian. I want to be a copywriter. I want to be a PR and social media queen. I want to be a college lecturer. I want to own a movie theater with my husband where he can show old movies and lecture on them. I want to write personal family histories. I want be a stay-at-home mother.

I don’t want to choose.

I want so badly to choose.

I have work to do.

You may have noticed that more than one of those figs that still dangles so temptingly before me is a future as a writer. I am drawn to writing and always have been. I do not need to be the next J.K. Rowling or Erma Bombeck; but someday I would like to be able to call myself a real bona-fide, get-paid-for-putting-words-together writer. I like to think that’s still possible.

If I want to write, I have to write.

I have work to do.

I know I work better with external motivation. So once again, I signed myself up for National Blog Posting Month for the month of August. I once again committed myself to updating my blog every single day for one month. I did it before, so I’m thinking chances are good I can do it again.

NaBloPoMo offers writing prompts each day, but I’m not required to use them. And each month  has a theme. This month’s theme is fiction. Now fiction is not really my forte as far as writing, but it works for me for inspiration. Fiction gets me thinking and fiction gets me writing.

It got me remembering that fig tree. It got me thinking that I finally deserve a taste of a future  I can see. Time to sink my teeth in.

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  1. Lisa Kelly says:

    Yeah! Good for you! I look forward to a month of Kelly posts.


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