Gardens are like books. Ok, gardens are not as delightful as books and, well, gardens have bugs soooo… 😕 But maintaining a garden is like writing a book because…
Both gardens and books need constant care to grow. I liken that perfect, red glittery strawberry to a jewel of an idea you get at 3am. You know you should stop what you’re doing and pick it/write it down but “meh.” You’re too tired.You’ll do it later. Then poof! You turn it over and the potato bugs have swiss-cheesed it.
They both look easy, until you’re on your knees in aguish because grasshoppers have scarfed down your harvest or you discover that your protagonist is just boring.
Aaaand, if you garden (or write novels) only for food, you’re in the wrong business!
Way back when, I loved the idea of food being a simple equation. Seed – plant – stomach. Easy, right?
But after many moons of battling weeds and insects, I’ve realized three things:
1. I have not outgrown my childhood skittishness of all things crawly.
2. Gardening takes WAY more time than I realized.
3. It would be more productive to buy overpriced organic cantaloupes than to pick stink bugs off my cantaloupe plants.
Sometimes, when harvesting a hefty take of 6 green beans or something, I added up the amount of time, water and effort it took to produce it and despite my deep pride of said green beans, I did wonder if gardening was better left to professionals.
Here’s the thing though ——->
Even though it took years for my daughters to stop calling my garden “the graveyard”, I love growing stuff! It makes me feel very accomplished. (Probably because the “graveyard” beginning gave me a complex)
I was giddy when my grape vines sprouted their first cluster of tiny green nodules. And yesterday, when my lychee tree dangled its first, precious fruit in the breeze, I jumped from foot to foot like a four-year-old who has to pee.
These things thrill me. Growing stuff gives me the same feeling as ending a chapter with a tantalizing hook sentence. Or nailing a bit of dialogue. Or writing with frenzied inertia until 2am.
I slave away on my novel and struggle to grow stuff because it makes me feel stupid-happy with delight.
Books and gardens are labors of love and they better be because, let’s be real, they may be a total waste of time and that has to be ok.
Cheery thought, eh?
In other news, I’m brewing kombucha again, just to defend my “cool” status with my teenagers and because I have soooo much extra time and because these things thrill me. I’m sure if I think on it, there are philosophical similarities between fermenting mushroom tea and and writing a book. But I’ll spare you.