Building from Scratch, in more ways than one

 The interesting thing about gardening is how so many people thing you have to buy all kinds of things in order to grow plants that need simple things like dirt, sun, and moister in order to grow.  A popular phrase for gardening is “if you can’t grow out, grow up.”

 I have seen dozens of garden that had been designed to maximize all the available space possible.  Square foot gardening is no different. On the northern end of a raised bed I built my first completely hand made trellis for runner beans I bought last year.  Using bushes I cut out of the yard and vines that try to take over everything each year I tied together the cut limbs and created my first trellis.  It looks like something out of the show Lost.  The twigs and limbs are woven together and tied in place with the vines.  

 The red roots of the radishes are starting to show underneath the green leaves.  The lettuce appears to double in size by the day and soon I should have rows of fresh greens to add to my meals.  

 I watched a documentary a few weeks ago called Fed Up about the food industry.  I can’t help but think health wise I’m doing myself a favor by trying to go off grid with my food source.  Between the fish and the garden it won’t be difficult to sustain my food source.  Instead of going to the grocery store I should be able to walk outside and collect what I need for a decent meal.  

 Traveling hasn’t been difficult after switching to the mountain bike and walking.  When the weather is warmer the mountain bike is the preferred mode of transportation.  The bike also extends my range for where I would go if I needed to pick something up.  Today I walked four miles total, out to the library and back.  I uploaded Episode 6 of The Writer: Chronicling the End of the World.  While I was there I also picked up a few books and some Manga that caught my eye for reading. The entire trip took two hours.  They may appear a bit much for going to the library but honestly its more relaxing since I don’t have to worry about the limited time in parking downtown. By switching to a bike and walking I reduced the stress of worrying if I will get a $15 ticket and added much needed exercise I should be getting.  

 I find it strange these days that I have to tell myself ‘I don’t work at the hospital anymore’ when I walk by it downtown.  I am finally one of those people that won’t go to the hospital unless I need medical care. In a weeks time I have come to care less about the complaints people have about their jobs there and can only think ‘I don’t have to deal with that anymore.’  Even if this project and my writing career don’t work out I know I won’t be going back to that place for employment.  The stress that came with the job is now gone and I don’t want to invite it back into my life.  I wonder if others will feel the same way if the shit ever hit the fan for good.  Would people sit back and wish they could go back to work?  

 I remember the scene from American Splendor when Harvey Pekar wakes up in the middle of the night from a nightmare and comforts himself by saying “I have a job, I have a job.”  I never felt that somebody should have to judge their self worth by their employment.  What I truly didn’t care for was how people treated other because of the job title they had or the color scrubs they wore to work.  I understand the desire for people I worked with to wear blue scrubs if they could. Blue was the neutral color in the hospital that many departments wore.  If you worked in surgery you were required to wear light blue.  However the loop whole for other employees was to change into hospital provided blue scrubs if they had blood or chemicals spilled on them.  During the day even a janitor could be mistaken as an employee in surgery and receive a hell of a lot more respect then they normally would.  

 These days I honestly don’t get out much.  When I do it tends to be the isolated places that I have frequented for the last decade and people already know me.  On the rare occasions I do meet people outside of my loop and they ask me what I do the response is totally different.  When you say you are a writer they asked “what kind of books?” and “who did you get published through.”  sadly being a self published author on Amazon is almost like being a janitor.  The term ‘writer’ instantly comes with the assumption that you are wealthy, highly educated, and published through a major publishing house.  When you slowly debunk their assumptions you are suddenly shot down the totem pole.  

 Kalamazoo is an old city.  It is young compared to most of the country.  When I say old I mean that the manner of thinking the people have here is old.  They regard successful writers as being published through the traditional houses that rarely pick up the manuscript of an unknown writer.  They think face book is only for sharing pictures of their food and cat videos. Twitter has not caught on here in my city. When you mention Podcast, nobody here knows what the hell you are talking about.  The technology in this town is ancient and I’m surprised to see the few hybrid cars that are around.  Even the WIFI internet at the Library is as slow as the old dial up modems from the 1990s.  I now work in a field that relies on technology and yet the people I am surround by have no idea what is going on in the outside world except of some assholes called the Kardashians.  

 I’m finding this project to be a balancing act between ancient technology, the trellis, and modern life revolving around the internet.  The strange disconnect I have is that the people I know have no idea what I do online and the people who keep up with my work are all over the world reading my work.  I guess that is the major advantage of the internet.  While you can’t connect of force people to understand what you do you have a wide audience everywhere else that will listen.  Its so great, so strange, and truly messed up in a wonderful way.  



Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.