Saturday, February 28, 2009


A friend of mine recently retired early from her full-time job and said it felt as if she were floating that day--not just from sheer joy, but she was feeling less grounded, her routine altered. Change is good they say, but it can feel as if we've been uprooted, re-potted, even with the most careful of planning. When we dig up herbs or perennials, extricate their roots, then transfer them to a different bed, they require nurturing for several weeks or months after--extra fertilizer, extra water, shading for some. They have been yanked out of their familiar environment and are vulnerable. We are no different, the characters we write about are no different. Yes, some people adapt to change better than others, but there is always an adjustment period, a time when we are at the mercy of nature and rely on the kindness of strangers and friends. The victims of a tragedy, such as Hurricane Katrina, understand this all too well. And I believe it is so when we transition from this life to the next. . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Necessary Art

In a recent article in Poets and Writers an editor uses the word 'necessary' as one of his criteria for choosing a book to publish. He was using it in the sense of originality, or possessing that quality that will increase sales by word-of-mouth, but it is still such a vague, subjective word. Perhaps 'spark' is a better word. Or 'resonance.' But 'necessary?' Every year, during this time, my husband and I pour through seed and plant catalogues, trying to decide what flowers will be needed on our specialty cut flower farm. What colors will turn the most heads? What fragrances? There are some flowers, like the sweat pea, that always evoke a story, a memory. While others inspire and are taken home to be arranged into art, then painted or photographed. Still others that provide comfort or grant forgiveness or just plain bring a smile. It is with great pain that we leave out some beautiful varieties, and it has more to do with money than necessity. It is true there are subjects over-visited in the world of writing, and that some writers have such a magical gift for language they could write 500 pages on rock formations and we would still be awed. But who can truly judge what is necessary? Doesn't the creation itself make it so?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have always been a person in need of the seasons--to grow wild, then settle, then incubate for the new birth. My visit to Maui left me wondering how one can live in paradise. . . how one can remain in one phase of life, be it heavenly, for an extended or eternal phase. For me, I know it wouldn't take long for ennui to set in. . . I would like to experience a long, harsh Russian winter to appreciate the spring more, but this mild Maryland winter must do for now. . . I can hear the murmering below in my flower field--the incubation period nearly over, life readying to burst anew. Winter, for me, is a time of thought, of great productivity in my writing, but there's a lack of vitality in my words that only vibrant living can bring--that pulse of energy that the spring heralds and the summer exudes. This is my first blog post. Good night and namaste.