Status update: I’m feeling quite Juney these days. June bugs by the porch lights…Juneteenth celebration upcoming…anniversaries of June weddings…even the June-ipers are blooming with berries (okay, that one’s a stretch, but the observation is true!). The raised garden beds rendered a fine crop of cool-weather spinach and lettuce. Now those plants are wilting, while the peas hang heavy on their stalks, the carrots and green onions are sprouting and the tomatoes…well, they’re just getting started. To everything, as the Bible says, there is a season.
Ideas are like seeds, surprising in their appearance, responding to the proper stimulus, reaching toward the sky when well-established. With careful tending, each will blossom and bear fruit. But sometimes the terrain is just too inhospitable, the winds too strong. Sometimes they just fall on rocky soil. Past performance is not the measure of future yield.
In my Documents file and in folders stashed in my file cabinet, I have pages filled with titles and opening lines and plots. This is my secret seed bank, stockpiled against the Armageddon of writer’s block, although if I’m being honest, that has never been my problem. Rather, I have an overabundance of stories, far too many to cultivate now. Too little time, too little space. Just like in my garden, I’m forced to cull the crops. If I leave all those little carrotlings growing, not a one of them will become a full-grown carrot. So, too, with my tales. For ideal harvest, I must doom some to oblivion so that others may persevere. Truthfully? I lean heavily on faith. What else explains my willingness to believe that the tiny seed in my hand/head, buried in the dirt of my garden/imagination will actually give rise to something wonderful?
How do you select the best kernels to sow? I examine my ideas for size and weight and viability. The shriveled, the half-husked, the runts I toss or combine with other, sturdier seeds. Such specificity may mean I overlook the one prize-winner among them, but I can’t dwell on might-have-beens. Like the seeds that flourish, the stories that thrive and grow and produce the best result are those I have chosen, cherished, tended and plucked at their peak moments. Good writers, like good gardeners, know that they are at the mercy of the elements — some plants/tales just don’t make it to the table.