Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dahlias

By Terry Deighton, Guest Blogger

Liz asked me to take her place on the blog today. She’s out there enjoying the summer.

My son is getting married in August. That’s incidental to my tale except that the colors for the reception are dark red and black. I thought it would be nice to have my mother-in-law put her green thumb to use growing the flowers for the centerpieces. I bought some run of the mill dark red dahlia tubers at Fred Meyer and some more exotic almost black ones from a dahlia farm, delivered them to her at the appropriate time, and she did the rest.

One of the black tubers rotted in the ground due to the excessive rainfall this spring. Oh, well, I wanted more red than black anyway. As the summer has progressed, the plants have grown, but they are not as large or as close to blooming as the dahlias in my yard or the ones my mother-in-law has had for years. She expressed her concern. I told her I wasn’t worried. There’s still a month to go. Plants can do amazing things in a month. I bought small vases, so we don’t need a lot of flowers. It’ll be fine.

Then I started to wonder what I would do if there weren’t enough flowers. There are lots of possibilities. I can buy some at the dahlia farm, but it is over an hour’s drive away. Costco has some lovely dark red roses that would be nice. My bright red dahlias are doing well and starting to bud up. No one else is going to care if the color isn’t perfect. There are a lot of options. There’s no need to panic.

Our writing is kind of like these dahlias. Some pieces of writing rot in the ground before they ever take form. We move on and forget them. Other stories start out slowly, and we wonder, some times for years, if they are ever going to blossom. Other writing endeavors shoot right up, grow tall and straight, and blossom beautifully for all to see. The thing is, the stories that we struggle with are the ones we love the most. They are usually the ones others appreciate the most also. The exotic tubers are harder to grow, but the flowers are unusual and interesting. The writing that is the most work is usually that which is also more interesting, more enlightening. If we never try new and different types of writing, we may miss some very rewarding experiences.

The moral of the story is to let your writing develop at its own pace. If you are having trouble with it, fertilize your mind with reading and research if necessary, but don’t try to make it happen. When it’s time, the story will blossom, and it will be more beautiful than if you had forced it. Forced flowers can be beautiful, but they are before their time and short lived. Wait on the real thing. It will be worth it.

5 comments:

  1. I often find myself rushing to meet a deadline instead of letting the story make its own way. Once one in all my writing have the story and the timing been perfect. And I still consider it my best piece. Hope your flowers turn out for the reception.

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  2. Great post, but I'm still wondering who wrote it for Liz? But then, I often miss the obvious.

    How encouraging to know that there is a time and a place for everything. Your analogy seemed perfect to me. Made me even feel like getting on with my own project. Thanks much

    Anna

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  3. I thought I put my name on my posting. Sorry. The Dahlia piece was written by Terry Deighton.

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  4. Terry, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I love the analogy! It can be applied to many other areas of life as well. Good luck with the wedding! It sounds like it is going to be beautiful!

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  5. Love it! I just found a story that I wrote almost twenty years ago and had totally forgotten about. At the time it was considered a dead genre but now my YA fantasy might go somewhere. It aimply had to lay dormant.

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