Overflow and Underflow (or I trade you a tomato for a writing idea)

It’s been raining a lot these past few days. It means that I don’t have to water my “garden”, which is nice, though what constitutes my garden this years happens to be several of yellow pear tomatoes plants spilling profusely over the backyard lawn (thus showing the need, or rather disregard, for tomato cages), a couple of sunflowers that has miraculously escaped our evil killer bunnies, some sad herbs who were stunned to see the tomatoes completely take over their space, and some grape crimson tomatoes planted in pots, but not faring as well as their grounded cousins.


I’m really lousy at gardening.

I don’t know why. I read the books and understand what they need. I can see myself planting them in the spring, on my knees in the dirt, a wide straw hat on my head as I cheerfully nip flowers to put in my vase, or decide to split a hosta and put it over “there”. But when it comes to action, I look at the dirt, think, “Oh well,” dig a hole and plunk a plant in it, water it, and wait to see what happens. Nine times out of then, the plant is dead within a week.

I have an entire patch on the northeast corner of the house I have no clue on what to do. You can’t really see it from the patio. It’s not viewable from the street. You have to move to the side of the house to see it. The previous owners had put bushes there. I moved them to the front of the house, thinking, “How can anyone see these bushes? There must be something else we can put there.” About three out of six bushes survived the transfer. But that left me with a very empty, useless plot.

No, scratch that. The weeds like it very much.

I did try to salvage it by planting a couple of hostas some years ago. They took, but the weeds took over even more. The northeast corner of the house looks like a jungle now. This year, I tried to redeem it by putting some mint, parsley, and ferns in it. They all died. Now, I got some type of funky vine absolutely covering the plot. It’s swallowed up the hostas, climbing up the flowering spikes. I also got some poofy wild grass that would look awesome if it wasn’t covered by the vines.

But at least I got tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. Lots and lots and lots of yellow pear tomatos. So much that I’m getting sick of them. Used to be that I would shoo Daniel away from them just as they start to ripen from pale green. “Wait until they turn yellow,” I said. “Yellow!” Then, when they progress from sunshine yellow to the golden color of egg yolks, I pluck one off and give it to him. “There you go.” Now, I don’t even bother. He’ll grab handfuls of tomatoes and devour them, regardless of color, and I shrug and think “Well, at least he’s eating his veggies.”

I wish my writing was as prolific as my tomatos.

Actually, I shouldn’t wish that. I had carved out this time to be a period of rest, to spend time with Daniel and my hubby. That meant that I needed to slow down in my writing, to focus on at least one writing project a day rather than two or three. And trust me, I’m getting a lot done. I’m in this reading-to-learn phase where I’ve been picking apart stories to see how they’re put together. I’ve been doing some long overdue crits for my writing mailing lists. I’ve been taking it easy, if I don’t spend a normal writing time writing, I try not to feel guilty. This is a time of rest, I tell myself. This is a time for recharging my creative batteries, so when I get to editing Willow in the fall, I’ll be ready.

So why do I feel so picking itchy?

It feels like there’s a gap in my life, like I should be doing something productive. With Willow done, it’s left this huge gaping void that screams to be filled, and it’s not really satisfied with the short morsels of stories and poem I’ve been feeding it (but granted, it seems that I have only enough motivation to work on just one short story or poem a day). I want to do more. I want to work on another novel. I want to tackle something big. It’s got me anxious, twitchy. I find myself checking email a lot, just for something to do. Gah…I’m tired of vacation. I want to go to work!

Well…in a strange way, that cheers me up. It shows that:

a) I’m really serious in becoming a writer.
b) The fact that I’m anxious to start again will work in getting me off on the right foot when I do start.
c) That I don’t think I’ll be an one-book writer. Chances are, once the trilogy of Willow is done, I’ll be raring to start the next book project after that…and after that…and after that. So as long as I’m writing books, I’ll be happy. And the next time I complain about writing books, I’ll just look back at this post and remind myself that it’s good to be itchy.

I had originally planned to start working on Willow after the Midwest Literary Festival, which is in October. But there may be a chance that I might not make it there (time conflict with something else), which means I can start Willow anytime I want. So I think I’ll move the start date in September after Labor Day. It shortens my resting time, yes, but I think that’s okay. I will have rested two full months, so that might be enough. So I’m going to be firm in telling myself to rest and to be patient.

(Learning patience is another mark of being a writer. Boy, do I need to learn it.)

In the meantime, anyone want any yellow pear tomatoes?

tomato harvest


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