Here Come the Peonies

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My front garden’s looking a bit jungle-like with three giant peony plants coming into bloom, along with the irises. And the false indigo. And the clematis.

Speaking of peonies, how do you pronounce the word? When I lived in Omaha, it was pronounced pee-nee, and Omaha has Peony Park amusement park. Folks would ask, “Did you get out to Pee-Nee Park this year?” And since I originally hail from the East Coast, I thought it was spelled Pee-Nee. To go along with Ak-Sar-Ben.

Here in Kansas, especially south of Kansas City, folks are likely to say pee-oh-nees, with the accent on the second syllable. Me, I say pee-a-nee, accent on the first, and leave it at that.

However you say it, they’re gorgeous, even covered in ants.

Persistence

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Do you see that frilly leafed plant at the bottom of the photo? Unless I miss my guess, that’s Nepeta (Catmint) Walker’s Low. It has a lovely blue flower and a musty smell. When in bloom, bees and butterflies will cover it, making it difficult for an insect-phobic human like me to get close enough to weed.

Fifteen years ago, I planted a tiny Walker’s Low plant that in five years’ time grew so large it took over a third of my front flower bed.  In the fall of 2008, I spent three days ripping it out.  I dug deep and then deeper to get every bit of root.

Or so I thought.

Now it’s 2018 and if my powers of identification are correct, here it comes again. Out of the ground, like the unwanted dead haunting my garden. Not quite sure what I’ll do. Tear it out? Leave it, having learned to prune it back—severely—every fall? Whatever I do, I gotta admire its persistence.

This past year, I’ve had my own lessons in persistence. I’ve been a technical writer for many years but always wanted to write dark fiction.

Fantasy. Horror. Paranormal (gasp) romance.

But I didn’t just want to write stuff and put it away in a box or on a flash drive for posterity. I wanted to publish. In my lifetime.

Last year, I decided it was time to figure out how. Without burdening you (at least not yet) with all the details, I stumbled upon a fabulous coach who taught me what my Walker’s Low already knew. Keep at it. Do the work. Show up. Persist.

After 14 months of alternating between discouragement and determination, I have two short stories, publication forthcoming sometime this summer. Stay tuned…