Sunday, August 15, 2010

Books, are like Gardens - C.J. Barry

Can you tell I’ve written a lot of blogs this week? Can you tell I’m running out of ideas? It’s okay. I have a point.

Every summer I put in a backyard garden. It’s big, 20 feet wide by 30 feet long. A little daunting, if I hadn’t done it for the past 13 years. Which is also the exact same amount of time that I’ve been writing. Coincidence? I think not, and here is why.

As soon as the seed catalogs arrive, I start dreaming of my next garden. Imaging the plants I want and where they will go, because every garden is different. Visualizing colors and sizes and, tossing in a wild and crazy plant I’ve never tried before. Like ornamental corn or potatoes or Brussels sprouts. I plot out my garden on graph paper. I order seeds and research my next new, crazy plant. Just like dreaming up a new story idea. Interesting.

When Spring finally arrives, I buy my plants and seeds. I schedule the roto-tiller guy and prep the garden with fertilizer and peat moss. There is nothing like the smell of fresh tilled earth. Nothing. Except a good plot line.

Then it’s time to get dirty. Got my gloves, my little foam knee thingie-thing, my gardening hat (stylish!) and my plan. I go to work, laying every plant out carefully, digging perfect holes and sinking each plant into the ground. It takes time to make a good garden. It takes sweat and courage. Just like writing the book.

Once the garden is planted, the work is not done. You have to watch it, feed it, water it, and weed it. You have to keep the bunnies and deer out. You need to tend it, every day. Just like writing a book.

Finally, the harvest comes in and it’s as awesome as I imagined. It’s finished—beautiful and imperfect, just like my books. I pick veggies and herbs, and give them to family, friends, co-workers and strangers.

After all, I don’t grow the garden just for me.

See? There was a point after all. Happy gardening, happy writing, and happy reading, everyone!



Christina Hollis said...

I can really relate to your post, CJ. Your plot looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

practimom said...

What a great analogy! Your garden looks wonderful!

C.J. Barry said...

Thanks, ladies! I love gardening almost as much as writing, and that's a lot. ;)

Estella said...

Your garden looks wonderful!

C.J. Barry said...

Thank you, Estella! It's overrun with cherry tomatoes right now. This is the time of year that I become the stealth Cherry Tomato Fairy at work. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone. :)

Pat L. said...

There is nothing like fresh garden tomatoes. My girlfriend and I are doing our summer things of hitting our book barn, lunch, farmstands - looking for good fresh produce and ice cream on the way back.

Congrats to Booklover!