Monday, February 23, 2009

Weeding the Garden

I don't have a garden. I have rocks. Let's face it, I live in the desert. However, when I used to have a garden, I would have to pull weeds. Some of them were obvious, sprawling, strangly things choking out the carrots and turnips. Some of them were more sneaky, hiding behind the tomatoes in clumps that you had to scratch your fingernails in the dirt to find. Then there were the third kind: the ones you didn't even know were weeds until someone else told you. And still you didn't believe them. "What a pretty flower it has," you would protest. "No, you need to pull that one out fast, or your entire garden will go dead," your friends would tell you, repeatedly.

Stubborn, you let the weed grow, wondering why your garden wasn't flourishing as the seed packets predicted. You knew you watered it appropriately, you weeded it, or thought you did, and you even sang it a whispered lullaby when no one was listening.

But one day, you peeked into the shadows and realized that this lovely plant with the fragrant flower really was a weed after all, because it had taken over the entire garden. The carrots had shriveled up and dried out, dehydrated from the effects of the thieving weed. You had no choice but to ask it to its face: "Are you really a weed?"

No response, of course, because it's a weed and cannot answer. It cannot even comprehend the question, or the root of the matter behind your tearful inquiry. It is, after all, just a weed.

So you pull it. First by the stem, which snaps in two, milky in defiance, still deeply entrenched in the soil you so lovingly prepared. Another tug reveals an enormous cluster of water-robbing tentacles. You close your eyes and brace your feet on the ground as you pull the rest of the angrily-shaking roots out of the lush soil.

You transport the noxious substance to the trash can as quickly as you can, not able to look at the remains in your hands. You lay the heap on top of the eggshells leftover from the day before. Reverently, you close the lid of the bin.

After a few seconds, you walk away, still believing that possibly it wasn't a weed, after all, but a flower only known scarcely by the more modern herbologists, one that would bring joy and wonder to your garden.

You go inside, knowing that trash day wasn't for another four days, and that the roots could be transplanted if you really felt like making the effort.

But in your heart, you know it's just a weed, and will only cause your garden more harm.

And so you lay awake when most good little gardeners would be sleeping, and you mourn the loss of what you once believed with all your heart was such a lovely flower glistening in the sun, like a halo.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A New Plan

Or an old one reconsidered. How about I market all my stories? Finish the ones that need to be finished. Retool those that need some rethinking (including Sandals). Plot the narrative arcs in my picture books. And then...let them fly and see if they land back on my finger, but in published form.

This way I can give myself a year to try and make it as a writer.

I miss deadlines. I can't seem to operate without them. And giving them to myself does not work. I know I'm a pushover. I can be bribed. Just use chocolate.