Cloudy Sunday

IMG_7171 (2)

A look at next spring’s asparagus.

The calendar shows it’s still fall, but it feels more like winter has arrived. The garden’s done for this year. All that’s left to do is wait for January seed catalogs to arrive.

Drizzly Sunday

IMG_7088

Fall color on a silver maple taken two days ago. Amazing colors this year.

Snow is predicted for Thursday, but where and how much? Maybe we’ll have a real winter this year. It’s been a real fall.

Taking Stock

IMG_7078

Every year since leaving corporate America, I’ve set two goals. One for gardening and the other for writing. In 2017, I followed Ray Bradbury’s suggestion, to write 52 short stories. Bradbury says that you can’t write 52 BAD stories. I set out to prove him wrong.

But no. He was right. I came away from 2017 with 33 short stories, most bad. But what to do with the good ones? I had no clue.

And then, I stumbled on Anna Yeatts by signing up for a Write Stories That Sell course. Halfway through the course, I had to deal with a pantry moth infestation and stopped doing anything unrelated to killing bugs.

Anna sent an auto-reminder to finish the course.

Irritably, I emailed back that I’d get back to it when–someday–I vanquished the pantry moths hanging off my ceiling. And Anna responded with: Pantry moths are the worst! Impressing me with the hands-on touch.

After spending untold sums on books, groups, and programs to learn writing craft, I signed on with Anna. Now–18 months later–I’ve had five short stories accepted for publication, with two already published.

Goal accomplished? Yes, but achievement breeds more goals. It’s fall, a time for taking stock, and as 2019 looms, I count on the two things I learned this year.

  1. I wasn’t able to write 52 (or 33) bad stories. Thank you Ray Bradbury and Anna Yeatts.
  2. It’s never too late.

 

Editing the Garden

Editing01IMG_7044 (2)

The sun is shining, the air is crisp, the thermometer hovers just under 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Time to put the flowers up for winter. And that means editing.

This morning, I took a break from my mad writing goal of 20,000 words per week–I almost got there–and spent an hour digging out the bed in front of Jim’s barn.

About ten years ago, I planted sedum Autumn Joy there, thinking they’d look green in summer and dusky pink in fall. Turned out great for two years, and then the plants got scraggly. Horse nettle added its nasty self in that bed, along with some pernicious vine I’ve never identified. Then I learned that Autumn Joy–also known as Never-Dies with good reason–needs dividing every couple of years.

I divided the sedum and cut back the number of plants to reduce my work load. But then added iris and daylilies, forgetting that these too need dividing at least every two years.

One of the daylilies is especially gorgeous. That big clump at the far right of the photo? It looks like this in bloom:

Editing02IMG_6655 (3)

If I had places for them, I could get five fans (plants) from that clump. But as William Faulkner said, ‘kill your darlings.’ Just as true in gardening as in writing.

Speaking of, my latest published short story–and warning, it’s a little dark–is at Page & Spine Magazine.