Thursday, August 6, 2015

some campanula, but mostly rambling


When I take a look around the farm - a museum of farm failures - then I remember that we grew these campanula, and that is something. When I found the first one in bloom I came close to tears. The exhilaration was new to me. 

You know what else is exhilarating? This music video of WE ARE THE WORLD from 1985.

I watch it and I feel really good. And I also sort of feel like all those musicians are old friends of mine, and I'm suddenly beaming at the computer screen...at my friend Waylon Jennings. 

Really I just want to do this in the flower world. Get all the florists together and make a music video. I'd like to be the Diana Ross character equivalent, which is to say really pretty with amazing hair and seemingly genuine charisma. 


I could really stand to watch it now in fact, as I've had a terrible day full of sheep mastitis, a miserably weedy flower field, and general uncontrollable entropy on the farm. The internet here involves a 'satellite' dish on top of our house made out of old hubcaps and tinfoil, powered by a gang of oversized field mice on stationary bicycles. They are oversized because they eat the cat food that we put out for the two 'barn' cats who were brought here from Brooklyn to eat such mice but instead prefer the sport of catching songbirds and butterflies. You can't always control who lives and dies at Worlds End.  It's savage.


All this to say there are just not enough sky beams coming into that damn satellite to bring Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Bruce Springstien and all my other friends down. Only enough to watch partially downloaded videos on my phone as to how to milk out a mastitis infected udder. Not giving you the link to that one, because we are also friends. You and me, and Lionel, and…
  

But besides a sick sheep and a busted brush hog on our tractor and besides the fact that I royally fucked up some flowers in the field, things are great. And when people ask me lately how things are going, I try to stop and think objectively, and then usually respond THEY ARE GREAT, and I try to be convincing, because it's the truth. You, perhaps like me, have had a bad habit of always focusing on what's wrong instead of what's right. I think that can be a female thing more than a male thing; modesty sounds like a feminine word or a brand of maxi pads or something...[here did lie the paragraph where I ranted about 'humble bragging' and my distaste for the sweetness of women in my industry which arguably borderlines on misogyny...we are the world?!]


I google modesty, just killin time and procrastinating. I find a religious website about dressing modestly. I take a quiz 
-
Q: Do your shirts reveal your abdomen or back? Do any of your shirts have sexually suggestive slogans (such as “sexy” or “flirt”)? Do velour sweatpants with such slogans brazened across the backside count? If yes, then yes.
Q: Do you have to suck in your stomach to zip any of your pants? Do any of your jeans ride so low that your underwear can be seen? I unbuttoned my jeans when I sat down to write this, so yes.

I get bored with this quiz and instead continue to procrastinate from my chores by making a mix called "Modesty" that features Enigma Age of Innocence, because fuck it. But not before, in awe of this religious zealousness surrounding 'female modesty' unearthed on the web (the mice, breaking a sweat up at the dish), I google some of these books on amazon that instruct women on how to pursue purity in a sex-saturated world. A few minutes in I regret this, my amazon profile - with it's usual suggestions of astrology, gardening, and sheep related titles is forever marred with this new data; a shit smear across my preference logarithm that now results in pastel-colored covers on the sidebar with titles like "Strategies for Victories in the Real World of Sexual Temptation."


What's appalling to me about the sentiment behind this sort of thought is that it puts more 'shoulds' and 'should nots' on women...

[And here did lie the SAIPUA FEMINIST MANIFESTO that I choose to remove for more revision and editing, you can look forward to it in the book I'm finally writing...]


When I read or hear about the planned parenthood shenanigans in the media I get angry. I think hard how any logical person could think that this non-profit organization -- whose aim has always been to help people choose appropriate health care -- is coercing women into abortions and then selling fetal organs to get rich. It's comical and absurd and I get furious, and then I watch myself get so upset and I wonder where that comes from, the fire. 

I guess it's the simplest question which I just can't understand why we're arguing about: Why can't women just do what they want to with their bodies? Why? It makes me teary to type it.

Thats the sort of feminism I feel, its a desire for women to be truly free. I'm shy to talk about this stuff because I don't honestly know a lot about feminism; it's history and where the thoughts are now. But I've been thinking a lot about gender roles lately and the way we all express different masculine and feminine energies... 


For me those norms are little skewed. I grew up in a house where my mother was the primary bread-winner, and learned inadvertently perhaps that women were equal or even more powerful in the sense of drive and career. I've never wanted children, so I've never felt that pressure which in so many ways is a burden to women of our generation who are the first to be able to choose whether they want a family (my mothers generation felt less of that choice). And lastly I'm a bulldog in a very feminine soft-sided industry, one where I've never felt completely comfortable.


All this rambling to say that things are alright, and actually really good. I've got sheep problems and flower growing problems, but I've got SHEEP and I'm GROWING FLOWERS. There's no big dramatic soundtrack to life when your dreams are coming true. And I'm trying lately to stop more and enjoy those fortunes and beauty of life -- the ones that I (we -- all of us in the Saipua family) have worked so hard to achieve. I hope you all know that lots of those good fortunes have resulted from all of you who've supported and cheered us along the way. 

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would read any book you put out. I relate to you, and laugh out loud, and feel when I read your posts. thank you.

LPC said...

Ah, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, it's nothing but an honor to have paid you some money and carried your flowers, and to read your brilliant writing now and whenever.

Helle said...

What a cool post - totally agree about difficult it is to see what is actually working instead of focusing on what isn't - vegetables in my garden - luckily my husband is there to give me a gentle kick when I think it's all just crap out there. How liberating, by the way, that there is a blog out there where one can actually write "crap" and not get censured, at least I think there is!!

Stolen Flowers Farm said...

It's just Dog Days, Sarah. Google 'dog days", and then listen to Atlanta Rhythm Section's "Dog Days". You are sounding nicely balanced, and your work, as ever, is breath-taking.

Simone said...

I got furious the other day when Amazon tried to get me to sign up for Amazon MOM (for the record: I'm not a mom). Until there's also an Amazon DAD service being flung into the faces of male online shoppers, I'll stay furious.

As always, I love your writing. Stay angry! It's where our power comes from.

Mlle Paradis said...

you rock on girl! such a great, great post. so glad to hear you are writing that book. here's one for you, just rediscovered it this week, from the amazing stevie wondah!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1QWlL7YuXw

Diggin' it said...

Here's to your dreams coming true! Plus, you are cracking me up! Thank you, from a beginning flower farmer in TX.

Robyn said...

Thank you, this blog post felt like a hug :)

Anonymous said...

This chapter
"I could really stand to watch it now in fact, as I've had a terrible day full of sheep mastitis, a miserably weedy flower field, and general uncontrollable entropy on the farm. The internet here involves a 'satellite' dish on top of our house made out of old hubcaps and tinfoil, powered by a gang of oversized field mice on stationary bicycles. They are oversized because they eat the cat food that we put out for the two 'barn' cats who were brought here from Brooklyn to eat such mice but instead prefer the sport of catching songbirds and butterflies. You can't always control who lives and dies at Worlds End. It's savage."
is brilliant. Terry Pratchett worthy.
I appreciate your writing, your beautiful creations, the way you try to do what is right, your strength, your dreaming big.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
~NataĊĦa,
who was once told 'You are strong' by another young woman and took it as a compliment, only to realize years later that it was a criticism. Which explained a lot that confusingly followed.

Lauren St. Martin said...

Hi Sarah, Thanks for sharing how things are going at World's End. I heard about your farm from a recent NYT magazine article, then found your websites and learned more about your floral work and farm. I enjoy reading your blog posts and look forward to your book. If you have not checked out a recent non-fiction book called "The Shepherd's Life" by James Rebanks (a shepherd in Northern England), I think you would connect to his life, work, and message. When you have spare time, that is. (wink).

Anne Hubbard said...

You have sheep and you grow flowers. That is amazing. You are definitely the Diana Ross of the flower world-- or possibly the Patti Smith, but that's my own interpretation. Know that there are those of us out here who are inspired, influenced, amazed, and a wee bit envious (though I know full well that I could never work as hard). But to let you know your reach, I went out into my city garden today, and cut some flowers and weeds and branches-- and channeled your work as I placed a base of vines and leaves, added the show flowers and finished with gesture. Later, when visiting friends gave compliments, I told them of your work, showed pictures, and wondered when it was that plants and flowers became more important to me than pantone and typography. Thank you for that. Seriously. And if you get overwhelmed eat another tomato sandwich, and know there are people out here that are rooting for you AND the sheep (with thanks to the pedaling mice and hubcaps). PS, next year I will try campanula.

ella said...

That white hot anger, that's good shit. Keep it hot though, cold anger becomes bitterness. Or something like that. The world is the worst and it's also amazing. Such a weird place, so many weird things to feel. But feeling is good too, because apathy is death. Carry on, my good woman!

Desi McKinnon said...

You have sheep and are growing flowers. I know that makes you happy and in turn it makes me really happy. I'm so glad you have sheep and floral issues. Thank you for working so hard and sharing with all of us.

cara said...

YOU HAVE SHEEP. Sheep are nasty at times, prone to ticks and infections and smelling like cheese that has been left in the rain, but they are SHEEP! And to have them ins wonderful. I love this post. Keep on keeping on, your righteous anger is a beautiful thing. As are your flowers. And your infected sheep.

Anonymous said...

I would like to be Cyndi Lauper...if there was a flower version of WATW- but I probably sing more (sadly) like Huey Lewis. (Have you ever seen the "behind the scenes" videos from when they made WATW? And how many takes they had to do with Huey Lewis? That man really has a hard time with pitch. Google it, it's funny.)
You are not alone. I often feel like a/the cactus in a sea of sweet peas.
Don't even get me started on Planned Parenthood. I said to myself in an interview (I often pretend I am being interviewed ala Jimmy Rabbit in the Commitments. (Seen it- do, if you haven't. For the music- if for no other reason.) Maybe Terry Gross was interviewing me, maybe George Stephanopoulos but they asked about Planned Parenthood and I told her/him/them its my body- what is so hard to understand about that? Why is this even still- now a discussion- an argument, that needs to be had? Makes me crazy. I told Terry or George that too.
Since this sounds crazy (CRAZY) I am totally signing this as anonymous.
xo Cuckoo Cactus Lady who likes to lie in the bathtub and pretend she is being interviewed.
(Maybe it was Diane Sawyer.)

caitlin said...

you are one of my favourite writers. please never stop with the honesty. it is helpful.

Sabine Boyle said...

What a roller coaster of a post! I snorted, laughed, cried (proper tears) and felt truly connected. You are an amazing writer. I salute you as a florist, grower, writer, inspirer....thank you.

Talia Jensen said...

love looking at the flowers you post!

Cara Corbinmeyer said...

"I've got sheep and I'm growing flowers." Amen. I hope that we can all find our own version of this. For me - I've got two kick ass kiddos who make my world go 'round and I have an awesome job where I am constantly learning and being challenged to step it up a notch, in terms of leadership, being knowledgeable on a subject, setting the tone, the list goes on.

Let's all celebrate our successes and those of other amazing ladies. Thank you.

Haley Sheffield said...

You are extraordinary. Laughter and tears. And if you haven't ever read the Prophet before, I think you might like it.

Sharlene said...

Great read! Thank you for sharing! :)