Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mama Liked the Roses.

My husband is a Koi connoisseur.  He's been raising Koi for decades, so it was no surprise to me when he came to me this spring and announced that he was going to dig a Koi pond in our tiny backyard for the few remaining fish we had.  I was glad to be getting the fish out of the house.  He dug the pond by hand, put in the liner, filled the pond, built a waterfall, and acclimatized the Koi to their new home.

I'm not an outdoorsy type of person.  I don't like to touch dirt, so the idea of gardening had never sat well with me, until I was touched by the effort my husband put into this backyard oasis.  The pond deserved some plantation around it, so I choose a number of mound bushes, small trees, flowering spreaders, a couple of peony bushes, and something I'd always loved...rose bushes.  I chose three different color roses and had my husband strategically place them in the garden, according to planting directions.  For a couple of weeks, I
waited anxiously for signs that I'd be seeing beautiful roses, and they didn't disappoint.  Through our short summer here in Alberta, the rose bushes blessed me with some beautiful blooms and made a beautiful addition to my husbands magical pond.

Summer is bowing out for the year.  Daylight hours are quickly being replaced by chilly nights.  I look at my rose bushes and I feel anxious, because I really have no idea what to do next.  So yesterday I found a gardener on Kijiji who is willing to give me all the advice and information I need to ensure my roses will make it through our bitterly cold winters.

Writing is like cultivating rose bushes to me.  I love writing as much as I love roses, but I think I'm taking a lesson from this summer of rose care.  Writing needs to be cultivated and pruned and respected in the same way.  Before I can expect to see the finished product I have been so long anticipating (a published book), I know I have to hone my craft.  I planted the bushes (ideas), fed and watered them (writing the manuscripts), pruned (edited and reedited), got some helpful advice from people and the internet (joined online writers communities and a local writer's group), picked up some tips about growing bigger, better roses (resource books and online articles about writing), and wait patiently to see the fully bloomed roses (sending in submissions and queries).  The rest is up out of my hands.  Either the roses (book) come, or they don't.

There are three legacies I'd like to leave to my loved ones once I'm gone:

  • Be true to who you are.  Don't pretend to be what people want you to be.  There's nothing worse than a hypocrite.
  • That I loved roses.  Every single time I look at my roses, I sing the song "Mama Liked the Roses", by Elvis to myself.  
  • The written word is beautiful.  Treat it with respect and use it to express yourself, your ideas, your imagination, your feelings.  Write letters to your loved ones.  Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.  And hopefully, along with this legacy, I'd love to include a tangible reward for my efforts, a published novel.  
I hope you enjoyed the photos.  This last one is of the final result - at least for this year.  There's always more work to be done, but that will have to wait until spring.  

I'll talk to you later.

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1 comment:

Lola Sharp said...

Wow! Beautiful.
I love to garden (and often use it as a writing comparison), but I've never attempted to dig my own pond. I thought you had to hire a professional...but that is gorgeous, and inspiring. Kudos to your husband.