Summer is underway, so it’s almost time to get back to serious writing.
I’m fond of calling myself a procrastinator, a slouch, a lazy ass, etc., etc. with regard to my sporadic writing schedule. Some periods of time find me pounding away at the keyboard (or in my notebook) like a possessed soul; other times, I’m absent. In speaking with someone who has helped me edit a novel but who is now concentrating on her other business as life coach, she pointed out that we make choices in life. I make choices in life. To write, to not write, to do one thing and not another.
In my case, I’ve been waylaid by the purchase of a Money Pit (more on that later…if I survive it) and also by preparing for the Ann Arbor Art Fair. I have also entered into a major art competition (more on that later…if I make it in). Gardening has also been a huge part of my life.
This afternoon, I have finally finished my spring planting. We had a late start with this year’s non-traditional spring. One day it would hit 80 degrees, the rest of the time we were dealing with frost warnings, so Michigan went from winter to summer in less than a week. It snowed (!) the weekend after Mother’s Day! Okay, so the stuff didn’t stick (thank goodness), but it was still snow.
I managed to plant potatoes during this crappy spring, but as they grow underground (for the most part), I didn’t have to worry about frost. Now my first batch are nearly as tall as I am! The second and third crop, planted three and four weeks later, are beginning to show over their bags. All around me is the promise of good eating: cherries that survived the crazy frost, a few pears, spindly asparagus, blueberries I hope I’ll get to before the birds find them.
I love planting; I love growing my own food, mostly. Gardening is time consuming; sometimes it feels like a constant chore. I look at gardening as not so much a diversion from writing, but the opportunity to ponder what I’m going to write next. It’s alone time, just me and my little shovel and hours of quiet. As I pull weeds, I think about characters – usually ornery ones that are like weeds. Recalcitrant, problematic, forever bad with no redeeming qualities (at least on the surface). Characters are the fruits of our labor; if given a good start, lots of fertilization, sun and water, they’ll turn out wonderful and real.
Digging in the dirt can be a very Zen experience. Worms and spiders remind you that we are surrounded by layers in a complicated life. Much like our protagonists. Writers have to carefully construct these characters with layers that our readers can peel away, and in the process perhaps learn something about themselves or at least be entertained.
Is it any wonder that I gave one of my characters the gardening bug? 🙂
Gardening also beautifies our dreary (especially in Michigan seven months out of the year) lives, much the same way reading a good book brightens our lives.
But now that my last radish seed has been covered with soil, it’s time to move on. The gardening gloves will be stowed away, my fingernails finally clean for more than a minute. I’m making the solid commitment to put my musings onto paper. Hopefully, in a way that makes sense to the reader!
All things fall into place. The choice is yours.