Berry Picking, Blogging, and a Piece of the Pie

Do I have to?  I don’t want to put on my shoes, and it’s freakin’ cold outside, and now even doing last night’s dishes is starting to look good.  But if I don’t get my butt out into my garden every other day or so, especially now that it’s wet and cold, those ripe red raspberries will grow moldy and drop off the vine into the dirt.  And because I am the daughter of a Depression Baby who ate tuna salad that was green and fuzzy rather than let it go to waste, those fallen berries haunt me like fuzzy green ghostlets.  Waning daylight pokes at me like a sharp stick before I finally get my fanny out the door.

Once I get going, I always wonder what took me so long.   Sure, a spider might drop down in my face, but I try not to scream—it scares the neighbors–and toss the whole bowl of berries into the air like juicy fireworks—all those perfectly good berries hitting the dirt would send my poor mother spinning.

But I can’t hear the robins singing from my armchair, and I enjoy listening to the neighbors calling their kids in for supper.  And while my hands are busy, my thoughts carry me to unexpected places.  This evening I spent a little while with my Grandpa Gus, remembering how he would turn us loose in his garden to fill our bellies with sun-warmed berries.  For the grownup me, the icing on the Forced March Out to the Garden Cake was a colander brimming with raspberries, which turned out to be the filling for the pie.

In the garden I had a quiet moment to reflect upon the writing life.  If you’ve been a writer for more than fifteen minutes, you’ve already heard that if you want a piece of the pie, you need to establish a social media platform.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, other ones of which I’ve never heard so I can’t even spell them, and a blog.  Kristen Lamb, the social media expert for writers tells us to blog at least once a week, ARGH!  But three posts would be better.  TRIPLE ARRRGGGHHH!

I was born an old dog, and new tricks don’t come easy.  My long suffering husband had to drag me to the computer (what is that thing and why are you making me touch it?), tie me to a chair, and force me to learn how to use it.  This happened only about a hundred times before I was willing to trade in my quill for a Mac.  Now writing equals cut and paste, and I use my quill for dusting the keyboard.  Then came e-mail.  (Why bother with that when I can’t keep up with snail mail, and it probably won’t catch on anyway!? )  But you can’t hold back the tide with a teaspoon.  E-mail and the internet were keepers, too; without them I couldn’t run a business, network professionally, or find nearly so many fascinating ways to procrastinate.

I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with the raspberry harvest this year.  If I can do that, I reckon I can learn one more new trick, and keep up with the blogging.  So here I go.

Copyright 2011 Naomi Baltuck



  1. Patty says:

    Nice Naomi.. I’ll enjoy your adventures here.

    1. Thanks, Patty. I enjoyed your blog. Lots of great projects!

  2. Good going girlie! Ride the cyberwave into the future. I look forward to your thrice weekly pearls of wisdom! Your #1 fan, CB

  3. Nancy says:

    Sweet. Reminds me of you.
    I’m going to enjoy reading your blog.

    1. Dear Nancy, knowing that will be an incentive to keep up. Love to all, n.

  4. Kim Pearson says:

    I have a pearl! I’ve been blogging 3 times a week since 2006 and I haven’t made it all the way around the bend yet, so my pearl may even be shiny. Here it is:

    Make categories. Mine are: Every other Monday I blog (or ghostblog) as my dog, from her point of view; the other Monday I write whatever pops into my head, no subject required – I call this my “compost.” Every other Wednesday I give a short “writing tip” or “ghostwriting tip”; the other Wednesday I share bits of my family’s history, or someone else’s family history, or even the history of words — the key word is history — and btw, I too have written about my father’s raspberry patch. I call Fridays “Haiku Friday” and I share a haiku that I’ve written and invite others to share theirs.

    I can’t tell you how much stress disappeared from my blogging have-to as soon as I started this categorization (about 2009 — I am a slow learner.) Structure is sometimes a very good thing!

    I love your writing, Naomi. Always have, always will.

    1. Hi Kim. Thanks so much for your pearls of wisdom! You are truly an inspiration, and I have always been so impressed with the way you have managed your own writing, your ghostwriting, and your blogs! I shall try to be as organized and steady and productive.

  5. My mouth is now watering for berry pie…

    In a documentary on Scottish history I watched last night; the narrator described writing (in medieval times) as “the new technology.” It allowed what one said to be recorded and used as (literally!) a call to account.

    I share your resistance to new tricks, Naomi…and also your desire to use new technology to connect my work with like-minded folks.

    Congratulations on this great step, which does just that. I look forward to more!

    And, as witness to the power of your words (whatever medium you use to convey them) I am now going to toast a piece of bread and slather it with berry jam.

    1. Wow, Anne, you said it perfectly! Thanks so much for visiting and dropping a lovely pearl.

  6. Beatrice Garrard says:

    I’m of an Internet generation, so when I started my blog I didn’t feel the need to pull out my hair, but surviving IB and writing a weekly post at the same time occasionally tempts me to do so.

    My fake plastic jewel of wisdom: If you have fun with it, people will be able to tell. Funny or die!

    1. Dear Bea, you are a true gem, the real thing, and a pearl of great price. I admire the way your natural, funny voice shines through everything you write, and it is what I will strive towards in my own writing. And I am amazed at how you manage to keep up with your heavy workload as well as your blog and your novel and your NaNoWriMo Club, with even some precious time left over to tutor the old mither in the basics of social media technology. How’d I get so lucky?!?!

      1. Beatrice Garrard says:

        Thanks Mom! I learned from writing from the best. 🙂

  7. kathy Klein says:

    Great post, Naomi! Very inspiring. I love your details – the smell of sun-warmed raspberries, the song of a robin…lots of fun to read, and stirred up some good memories of my own outdoor days…

    1. Thanks, Kathy. The garden is my favorite place to go for quiet thoughts an inspiration, (although the shower works too.) Thanks so much for stopping by.

  8. Terri says:

    So glad you have finally jumped into the pool. Looking forward to reading you weekly posts.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Terri. I’m getting the hang of it.

  9. sue says:

    Learning something new (outside of your comfort zone) keeps you young and healthy! Glad to see it. Your writing style is so lovely. Sue

  10. Madhu says:

    Really enjoyed this post! You write really well!

  11. “My long suffering husband had to drag me to the computer,
    tie me to a chair, and force me to learn how to use it…”
    thanks to your husband – daily it’s comfortable to follow your ideas!

  12. Jamie Dedes says:

    Here you are on the first day. I love it. It will be fun to see how your blog evolved.

    Re: social networking. Necessary. When we get past the resistance, we find rewards, having nothing to do with promo: Friends! in unexpected places. But you’ve found that out for yourself. Lessons: from unexpected sources. Tears, inspiration, lots of working-class talent: a special kind of blessing.

    I’ve given it up as promotion. Not sure there’s really much in it except that we can put it in our proposals and make the big guys happy.

    I’ve decided to sit back and enjoy the ride. I appreciate the ability to write and post as the spirit moves me: no cover letters, copies, snail mail, rejections, another cover letter and on and on … There’s something to be said for this. I think it’s called “relief!”

    Be well, Naomi. Thanks for all your visits.

  13. Kasha says:

    Smart way of observing things – I am a little more of a black and white individual, myself

  14. Letizia says:

    This is such a charming first post, Naomi. I understand your reticence. I’m still not on Facebook and it took me forever to get an email address and have a computer with internet access (my friends kept telling me – trust me, you’ll find it very useful….). Each to her own rhythm, I suppose. So happy you did end up creating this lovely blog 🙂

    1. I think blogging is a lot harder to get going than so many other things, and you are writing and maintaining your wonderful blog; you are not so far behind as you might think!
      Thanks for the kind words of encouragement. I still can’t go near twitter, and I haven’t set up my FB author page, but it’s on my list. (Not Twitter. Not going there.)

      1. Letizia says:

        Surprisingly I took to twitter as I felt no pressure and enjoy getting news from my favorite bookstores and publishers.

      2. I don’t want one more thing to learn and maintain. Blogging is time consuming, but I feel that I can really connect with readers in a meaningful way. I suppose one day I will have to take a class and learn to tweet, but for now, I will do it by puckering up my lips and blowing.

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