Mande Matthews’s story “For the Love of Wild Things” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 9 September 2022.
The first inkling:
I have long been fascinated with permaculture and food forestry, though, I fear, my thumb is blacker than night. I read once that fairies will help you in your garden, though none have bestowed their blessings on mine. Perhaps they see me as the plant murderess that I am. I’m not giving up, though, and still brave the dry Arizona heat in hopes of one day growing my own food.
The second inkling:
During a Method Writing class, I conjured up a memory. (Method Writing, for those who don’t know, was invented by Jack Grapes and is based on Method Acting. It teaches writers how to find their deep voice and often involves writing from your own truths to access authenticity.) The memory that brewed to a boil during a Method Writing session was of my father in the funeral home’s austere viewing room under flickering fluorescent lights.
My father passed quietly without pomp or circumstance. No memorial. No mourners lined up to pay respects. Though the entire family would later spread his ashes off Dead Horse Point, only my brother, mother, and I were standing there next to him as he lay on that metal hospital-grade gurney. It was as he wanted it. He was a humble man. Yet, he lived a life of service and good work that benefited hundreds if not thousands.
The two inklings became one:
Food forestry and my father’s passing (and processing the grief of his loss) magically merged. I don’t know how or why; that’s left to the creative subconscious. But they did, and the story was born. For the Love of Wild Things is my tribute to my father and all others who have toiled long and hard, made a difference, yet passed from this big beautiful dance of life without much recognition. I can attest that good work, whether seen or unseen, lives on.
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