A Year in the Yard: The Book
When I was ten, I took a stack of looseleaf paper, cut it into
quarters to look like a diary, dated every page, and started writing.
On the first day, I noted the top three songs of 1970 ("Bridge Over
Troubled Waters," "Close to You," and "Raindrops Keep Falling on My
Head"), and on the last I recorded that my friend Jill, who spilled
Coke on my parents' rug on May 14, fell asleep eight minutes before
midnight. On March 29 we played softball on roller skates, and on
Halloween I went Trick or Treating for two hours and fifteen minutes,
took off my shoe because my foot hurt, and stepped on three slugs.
My sister, Margaret, fainted in church on December 12, though
neither of us threw up in the car that year, as we were prone to do. I
wrote every day, fourteen times dutifully recording that "nothing
much happened," or some variant thereof.
So I’ve pretty much been writing my entire life, but it wasn’t until I'd
been watching my yard for years that I figured out what I’m
supposed to be writing about—which makes me feel a little
ridiculous, because writing and nature are my two great loves, and
they come together beautifully here. A Year in the Yard: A Natural
History of a Suburban Backyard is the result of that realization. It’s
now a completed manuscript, and I’m actively seeking
Part natural history, part memoir, the book chronicles a year in
the life of the yard and in my life, the year in which I returned to the
death of my best friend, one December night when I was six, from
complications related to the mumps, the year in which I decided
whether to give up my dream of having children to pursue my
calling as a writer. Left undisturbed, the yard was becoming
woodland again, and I, as I sat there watching and writing, I too was
becoming who I’m meant to be.
Copyright 2008 by M.A. Sheehan. All rights reserved.
A Year in the Yard