Tag Archives: flowers

Moments to Bloom

This year was tough on my garden. Due to the excessive rains and our clay-filled soil, my perennials experienced a lot of root rot, and I had to replace established plants in my flower beds. Then, I came home from up north over the Fourth of July weekend and found my hostas blooming. A peek in the Farmer’s Almanac supports my hostas’ proclamation via a forecasted mid-October snowfall. “Fall is right around the corner.

I hate shortened summers in part because I love flowers so much. My yard is filled with thousands of blooms in varying shades of pink, purple, blue and yellow. I try to mix perennials that bloom at different times and add in a healthy dose of annuals so I always have something flowering from spring through fall. When my iris die off, my lilies take over followed by an end show from my mums. Each plant takes its turn in the spotlight before making way for the next blossoms.

Some bloom longer than others. Some are brighter or more fragrant. Some appeal to niche gardeners while others seem more universal. Every garden, like every book store, has hybrids and purebreds, quick blooms or hardy evergreens.

Books and blooms. These are the things I live for. All of them have a special season. They challenge us, soothe us and keep us hopeful.

As my reading place will migrate from the deck to the fireplace, I wonder what new books will bloom in time for fall reading. I have my eye on a few that are yet to hit bookstores for the first time, as well as some tried and true classics I’d like to revisit.

In the book world, are you more partial to perennials that hang around year after year, or are you enticed by the newness of annuals? Which do you enjoy more, the ones “everybody” is reading or the offbeat gems that are kitche and unique? What’s blooming on your TBR list now?

Curious minds want to know.

P.S. For my writerly friends, I’ve got a post up over at From the Write Angle blog.


I learned something today…

I finally got into my flower beds.  I’m late and not proud of it.  But because I didn’t have the chance to dig in the dirt earlier, I learned something today.

As I reached down to tug a weed from the soil, I noticed the tiny shoot looked slightly familiar in a very miniature way.  Upon close scrutiny I noted a baby alyssum. 

No, I am not off my rocker.  I was as surprised as you are.  Everything I’ve ever known about this dainty flower screams of impossibility.  According to The Gardener’s Network, “Alyssum are tender annuals and highly susceptible to frost.”

Hello, I live in Minnesota where frost is warm and below freezing winters are long.  Yet I counted not one, but eight babies in two of my beds.  They could quite possibly be the cutest things I’ve ever seen.  The fact that they shouldn’t exist after a super cold and snowy winter makes them even sweeter.  Miraculous even.

Had I tilled my beds and planted on time, they wouldn’t have survived.  Their seeds needed to be warmed by the sun and left undisturbed so the sprouts could take root.  They grew out of my forced patience.

The writing process is a bit like these annuals.  We write, we submit, we edit, we get rejected.  We write, submit, edit and get rejected.  We find ourselves in a pattern of forced patience.  Slowly, we are warmed by the sun and our writing takes root in the fertile soil of our practice.  Our forced patience allows for the possibility of beautiful, miraculous and unexpected blooms.

The odds of getting published are about the same as an annual propagating in impossible conditions.  Yet those tiny baby alyssum filled me with hope. 

They taught me that as long as I continue writing, editing and submitting, I have the ability to succeed.  I will not give up, and I will not quit trying. 

Instead, I learned something today.  We only lose when we let the frost destroy our tender dreams and keep us from reaching our potential.  Miracles are patiently nutured, not grown overnight.

May the sun shine and your alyssum bloom!

New Beginnings

There’s been enough blog talk about great beginnings that we writers should instinctively know how to create a gripping beginning.  One that lets us connect with our MC.  Doesn’t introduce too many characters too quickly.  Keeps us grounded in the moment.  Has no mention of weather.  Lacks boring dialogue.  Doesn’t start with the single most exciting event of the book which will make the remainder dry in comparison.

Sheesh, the rules are endless and concise.  And yet as I weeded my garden, pulling out the debris from last year and letting my spring sprouts poke through to the light, I couldn’t help but give my new manuscript the wrong opening sentence.  Over and over and over again.

My professor told us the sun always rose in the east.  Always. 

Ugh.  I didn’t need the opening line of a YA to start with an old geezer pontificating about science.  Kids hate that.  They get lectured enough in school.  I tugged a dead stem and mulled the sentence over in my head. 

The sun always rose in the east.  Until today.

Ach, I didn’t want my readers to really think the sun didn’t rise.  I just wanted them to question that the foundation of our lives may not be as predictable and true as it seems.  I kept pulling the winter-dry leaves of my iris, searching for a hint of new growth underneath.  I did the same with my idea, carefully shearing away the brittle wording so as not to disrupt a new sprout.

When my boyfriend told me he loved me, I believed him.  But that was yesterday.  Today…

Lame-o.  That could be a thousand different storylines, and I hated the whiney feel of this sentence.  My MC is ego-centric.  Not a whiner.  She’s a fighter whose whole life changes in the blink of a night.

I needed to put my MC in the forefront.  Let her tell her story, not hint around to the rest of the world.  She’s ego-centric.  And she has every right to be, because until today, she’s been treated that way.  As if she’s special.

But I didn’t want all that back story.  I just needed a simplistic way to let the reader know life is no longer the same, all the while letting my MC ‘s inner spirit shine through.  Back to tugging more leaves, praying for green and tapping my mental keyboard.

Yesterday I believed the sun would always rise in the east.  I believed Cassidy when she twined her pinky around mine and promised we would be besties forever.  I believed Mom when she buttered my toast and told me I was the most important thing in the world to her, that she would lay down her life for me.  I believed the words as they spilled from Jackson’s mouth.  He loved me and would never leave me.

But that was yesterday.

Today the sun doesn’t rise at all and I feel like Jesus being denied by Peter.  Today, I don’t believe anything.

Knowing me, I’ll tweak this beginning to death, but for now, I think I cleared away enough debris and found the new growth underneath.  Of course, it could just be me.  I do that often enough with my writing.  Seeing a glimmer of goodness and declaring it the most beautiful thing in the world. 

Like my iris, I will continue to nurture the spring sprouts of this new idea, pampering them and believing in them until the leaves give way to stems, stems to buds and buds to stunning blooms. 

I love new beginnings!  Now if only I remember to water this one…

Is it easy for you to write new beginnings, or do you start with a well mapped idea and struggle to put down the opening lines that will lead you to the meat of your story?

Do you have a first line or two you’ like to share?