Monday, April 25, 2011

Writing and Gardening - Because They're Related

It’s taken me years to make my own little Garden of Eden. I grew up where fruits and berries grew spontaneously. Ever heard of Salmon Berries? Most people haven’t. They look just like Blackberries, except of course they’re salmon color. They have a mild sweetness, the upside being you never eat one that makes you pucker.

Over the years I’ve planted two Bing cherry trees. Two pears. A Russian plum. Apricot. A thornless blackberry bush. Raspberries. Last year a blueberry. And I have 4 garden boxes. This doesn’t count my ornamental trees or flowers. Like my goradceous lilac outside my front door.

As you know it takes years for trees to give you a good crop. I still have jars of plum jam from two years ago. Because I live in the Boise area, our weather is much nicer than what my lovely Utah peeps go through. My trees blossom earlier, I’m able to plant earlier. Ha ha except dangit and boo.

The other night my kids were wondering what sort of lunatic gets near to tears when the news of a frost hits her? That would be me. I’m that kind of lunatic. Everything is breaking into full bloom. So I had them wrap some of the trees in old Winnie the Pooh sheets. Others in tarps. Oh yes, redneck aint the half of it.

But my cherry trees are my oldest and dearest loves. And they’re huge. I just couldn’t get a dang tarp over the smallest of the two. So we wrapped a few branches. But not before my daughter nearly had her first hernia at watching her mother stand at the very near toppest of the tree holding a huge tarp during a wind storm.

The part about the writing starts right here. Nature/Life seems to have different ideas and priorities than I do sometimes. I call not fair, but what can you do? It wasn’t too long ago that I made a decision to write a novel. It actually came about because my life really stunk – physically. I was pretty bed-ridden and blah blah blah.

I started with a historical fiction about someone I find fascinating. But I set that aside as I found my stride with YA Contemporary. So I wrote, 180 pages in a few months, or was it longer? Probably longer. I loved the character, the situation, the supporting cast. But I got hit with a hard frost called, “You can’t have all that happen to someone so young.”

So I started over, with her older. But that changes only EVERYTHING. And I’ve gone back and forth about all kinds of things in this new situation. And just recently I changed the MC and another big character. I changed their voices.

I feel like my cherry tree. A little frosted and downtrodden with the whole process. Sometimes close to tears. Sometimes in a panic. The thing is, it would be ridiculous and stupid for me to take a chain saw to the trunk of my trees. It’s just part of the growing process. Even though I want to chainsaw my efforts to write.

So guess what? 60% of my cherry blossoms survived the night. I don’t know how. It hit 27. They were all supposed to turn brown and die.

Seems I still have a lot to learn about hope and faith.