Monday, June 16, 2014

Eden to Amazon

For as long as I can remember, I’ve made up stories. I’d sit in an airport and make up stories about the people that walked by. As I drove past houses, particularly interesting ones, I’d make up stories about the people who live inside. The most poignant stories were always about the people with neglected gardens.

As I’d drive or walk by a house with a neglected garden, I looked to see whether the bones of an excellent garden where underneath the weeds. I’d look for specimen plants—exotic creatures that take special nurture. I’d spy out meandering foot paths or artfully planted foundation plants. And, of course, if I spied out the bones beneath the neglect, the story I told myself would become tragic. Often, it would run like this. A dear woman (all woman who garden are wise, aesthetic souls) planted and cared for a lovely garden. One day, disease or death struck. And now her husband can’t bear to be out weeding and mulching because it reminds him of her. And now the garden lies in disarray—a physical reminder of love lost. (Yes, my younger daydreams were melodramatic.)

Now that I am older and wiser, I know the truth because my garden has gone from Edenic to Amazonian. (Okay, it was never Edenic, but this is my blog post so I’m allowed a little creative license.) And the cause of the neglect isn’t debilitating disease or death or even a bad case of the flu…it’s writing deadlines. When you’re looking for passive voice, mixed metaphors, etc., there isn’t time to trim the roses or weed the Bermuda. (I tried Roundup, but it must’ve rained before the poison dried. Grumble, grumble.)

In any case, Screwing Up Alexandria is now pubbed, and I’m out in the garden with shears and shovels (yes, some of the weeds are that big). And soon I’ll banish the Amazonian takeover. But, I am a little wistful because I’m wondering how many other writers who drive by my house are going to have their tragic stories ruined. Sorry.

(Okay, so please tell me that I’m not the only one who makes up stories about gardens.)

Yeah, okay, so this isn't my garden. It's one of the gardens at Versailles.
But a girl can dream, right?


  1. Beautiful pictures! I too have made up stories for the longest time, usually whenever we went out to eat at a restaurant. I'd look at the people at the table next to ours and make up soap operas about their lives. Good luck with your writing deadlines! Hope you get some time to tend your plants soon!

  2. Aah such pretty gardens.

    I also tend to let my mind wander when I see neglect, although ruins are my poison. ;-)

  3. I haven't made up any stories about them, but I'd rather write about gardens than work on one!