uncovered garden secrets

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My vegetable garden has been a great metaphor for writing. It has reminded me to “kill my darlings,” and then to take action, to move the plot along.

The last month has brought quiet and peaceful times to the garden. The tomato plants are thriving, I’ve harvested baby potatoes and peas, and the leaves have unfurled so that at a distance, green has begun to dominate brown. Nice. Orderly. Peaceful.

But in the world of storytelling: borrrrring!

Oh, but the last few days have provided some twists, brought life to the garden’s story again. In the hospital I told my dad about the gopher. (he’s doing well now and on the mend spoke too soon he took a plunge today and is now stabilized). My dad is the one who brought me my love for vegetable gardens–he and I had one together throughout my childhood. He was very interested in the gopher. And then he remarked, “Oh, we had them all the time!”

What?

He told me he didn’t have the heart to tell me that he was killing gophers all that time, knowing I had a soft spot in my heart for all animals. Remember, I’m the kid who held burials for rats caught in traps, petting the corpse heads. I still remember the soft fur. I know, ewwwww. But that was me.

You can’t keep secrets from your reader. What the writer and narrator knows–belongs on the page.

An additional lesson learned from the garden: when I got home, I found four fresh gopher holes. He’s back! The villain may die, but another villain will come to take his place. No good story is without conflict.

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1 Comment

Filed under Life, Writing

One response to “uncovered garden secrets

  1. a darn squirrel dug up the cilantro that brian and i planted in our patio. it went into the pot and dug the whole thing up. it also went about and dug into many of the planters we had, but thankfully, the flowers and plants are still intact. every year we have this squirrel problem and we’ve thought that we would just try to protect the plants better somehow. but this brutal killing of our cilantro plant cannot go unpunished. i will have to catch this squirrel and kill it with the latest CD from mariah carey.

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