Monday, May 25, 2009

My Book is Like a...

I often claim autumn as my season of choice, but I have to admit there's something special about spring.

One of my favorite films has always been Legend, and in an early scene the princess, Lily, romps through a spring forest where the air is alive with pollen and seeds.

My apologies to allergy sufferers, but when I was strolling the neighborhood today the atmosphere danced with parachuting dandelion fluff and tree seedlings, and the world was magic.

I love walking my dogs this time of year. I pass through a veil of heady scent created by the amalgam of lilac, honeysuckle, and apple blossom. When spring holds its brief court, one can move through the world utterly drenched in sensation.

The experience got me to thinking about metaphors and similes. Eric had a great post on this topic recently, but I wanted to bring home the point from a different angle.

Writers often use metaphors and similes to describe their work. Have you heard the following?

"My book is my baby."

"My novel is a cross to bear."

"Writing is like therapy."

To name just a few...

I fall into the use of such metaphors and similes to describe my own writing, but in the midst of spring a new idea popped into my brain.

My book is like a garden.

I don't have a yard, just a small deck on which I use terracotta pots to grow herbs and flowers. This year I'm experimenting with tomatoes and peppers as well, we'll see how that goes.

My favorite flower is the morning glory. Perhaps this choice seems mundane, but morning glories (though persistent once established) are fussy flowers. They cannot be transplanted; thus, in order to grow the lovelies you have to start them from seeds.

Now I realize all plants at some point started from seeds. Yet at the same time I can't stop feeling that some sort of miracle has occurred when I put scored seeds into a small pot of soil and a few days later tiny green shoots have pushed their way up toward the sun. I now have several pots of tender morning glories growing. I sit and stare at the miniscule plants, their tender leaves stretching out into the luscious heart shapes that characterize morning glories, and marvel at the tenacity that seeds contain.

In contemplating the lives of annuals, I decided my book is a like a garden. It needs tending and the warmth of the sun. If neglected, weeds will take over and prevent its full blooming. It fares well with watering and fertilization and its beauty is best appreciated when shared with others.

Above all, its very existence remains something of a miracle.

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