That is the gig folks. That’s what the writer is doing this summer: revising the current manuscript. Fortunately it’s also gardening season and the similarities are striking. I wheedle my fingers down into the dirt, feel which leaves or shoots need picking off or what roots need more room, scan the yard for where to put all those overflowing pots of lilies and Rose of Sharon sprigs that are taking over. This bodily relating to world with an eye toward shaping is perfect training for writing. In fact, finding wormholes in the manuscript where I can enter, plant, water, pluck feels so kindred to the circling the house I do on a writing break, spade or water can in hand, that the processes are beginning to blend together. If I am stymied in one area (Stymied gardening you might wonder? Why yes. No clue what to do with all those extra lilies – really.), I move to another.
Siri Hustvedt writes about her relationship to these living things, to her garden, in an essay called “Flowers”. For her this engagement is pre-reflective; it precedes language. In this way it is a reprieve from the narrating, naming mind. I quite agree. I love that lingering in the flora of the world helps me to bring my creature-self to the word.
Now, what to do with those lilies.