Some friends who are out in Montana right now to see their son Jon receive his master’s degree in fine arts, told me I could pick their asparagus while they were gone. I love asparagus, so the invite was truly welcomed. Yesterday, I pointed my SUV north and did the picking.
As I was bending down to pick the fresh, thick spears which had poked their heads out of the crusty ground, I was taken back to when I did this chore at my Grandma’s house. You see, both my grandfather and grandmother had grown up on farms and having a huge garden was one way they kept the simple life in their lives. Unfortunately, I never got the vegetable gardening gene.
Just because gardening is basically simple — you plant, you water, you weed and you harvest–doesn’t make it easy. In fact, gardening in pots is fun for me, but I’ve never been good at having a garden of any size because I love the planting and the harvesting, but I have no interest in the hard work in between. So, my veggies die of neglect and I vow again and again, I will never try to grow anything that doesn’t flower!
In a lot of ways writing is like a garden. You have to purchase the seed/plants (your idea for the story). You have to water and wait for them to sprout (the plot). You have to continuously tend to the plants–hoeing, spraying for pests, pulling weeds (through rewriting and editing), and finally, you have to harvest fruit/vegetables from healthy plants, then you and others can enjoy your labor (your finished book, story, article).
Thank goodness I don’t see writing the same way I see gardening or I would be an utter failure. Because writing, like gardening, comes alive in the WORK stages.
For some reason, I enjoy hoeing the weeds out of my prose after I’ve laid the words down. I enjoy watering areas that are dry, and cutting and pruning other areas. I’ll get a better story by doing so. I love feedback on my progress. (Remember I’m the student who loved the red ink of the teacher because I saw her comments a lot like fertilizer–Now don’t go there! ) I didn’t say manure, I said fertilizer–the stuff that helps plants grow and flourish down the road. And best of all, I love touching the fresh, healthy final product in my hands.
So the next time you’re whiny about having to weed your garden of prose, take heart. You’ll be picking a crop of fresh of yummy new ideas that are all yours. And just like me. you’ll be anxious to see your words in print. NOTE: “Finding Gessler” is fully ripe and going through the production state. I can’t wait until I hold it in my hands!
What have you planted lately?