Staying Creative While Waiting on the World to Change

April 9, 2020 Off By Michael

Broccoli, corn, and collard greens growing in my garden on the deck. ©2020 Harold Michael Harvey

I believe the sheltering in place edict has made me a more productive, if not a more creative, writer. Maynard Eaton, a fellow journalist, remarked to me the other day that I have been very productive and innovative in the past few weeks. It dawns on me that he is right. I have cranked out an article a day for the past sixteen days.

When I started on this roll, I kept a daily diary on the pandemic, and then it hit me that the more one beats the drum about something, wanted or unwanted, the more it magnifies in its reality. I stopped the daily diary and searched for more creative ways to explain the times we live. For instance, I wrote a piece about celebrating the homegoing of a civil rights warrior — Rev. Joseph E. Lowery — in a pandemic.

A row of bell peppers, broccoli, and corn growing on the deck. ©2020 Harold Michael Harvey

The only reference to the pandemic was in the title. The article focused on my relationship with Lowery from my days as a 27-year- old journalist to a 45-year-old lawyer helping to protect the rights of college students facing disorderly conduct charges during a spring break festival in the mid-1990s. I shared the lessons I learned first-hand from the dean of the civil rights movement.

Writing this article helped me to ease a bit of the grief I felt over his transition. There is an inevitable pain in not saying goodbye in a communal setting to a person who untiringly advocated for the rights of all Americans to share in the American dream.

A row of collard greens growing on the deck. ©2020 Harold Michael Harvey

This time has also caused me to be more reflective. I wrote a story in 1977 about two elderly ladies. They were working to revitalize their community. The ladies decided one day that “We all need to get out and plant a garden.” It was my first paid piece. It found a home in Facing South Magazine. Remembering how those ladies used a garden to give new life to their community stirred the latent gardener in me.

In March, I got out and planted a garden in flowerpots on my deck. I have herbs, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, snow peas, collards, eggplant, and broccoli. In a few weeks, produce from this deck garden should come online. Then I will use my time to be more creative in the kitchen finding ways to prepare delicious meals from the plants growing right outside my back door.