Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Things to Come

A few days ago I mentioned the Kong Sunflowers that I had just planted and included a picture of the massive wall of sunflowers at the end of last years growing season. I often make the comparison between gardening and writing. At this time of the year I take great pleasure in watching the seeds I have dropped into the earth germinate, sprout and begin their growth to maturity. Every morning I take a walk past the gardens paying close attention to the green sprouts as they poke through and I watch their gradual and amazing transformation. At this point we have squash, beans, corn, a couple of potatoes plants and the sunflowers sticking up though the ground. Today I took a picture of the first small sign of things to come. The sunflower that will grow to be so large is just two small oval leaves now. I look forward to documenting its progress. I find the same kind of pleasure watching a book take shape. I begin with the seed of an idea, nurture it and watch it develop. Next Wednesday night the harvest of Waiting For Still Water will take place at the Kingston Parish hall. I already hold the finished work in my hands and I look forward to offering it up as friends and family gather to celebrate its existence.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

First Day of Summer

Yesterday was the first day of the summer of 2016. This morning I wrote in my summer journal and looked back at entries from June of last year. I set my summer goals and they are similar to last summer's goals. Maintain the garden, swim, kayak, mow, enjoy the girls; all the gifts and joys of summer. My daily work changes as I set about to care for a huge vegetable garden. I have come away from my desk and my writing and as I go about my weeding and working the soil I have my work in the back of my mind. By September I will know what story will need to be told. I hold the work of the past in my heart both published and waiting for publication. The stories and characters weave together. On my walk yesterday I thought about three of the strong female characters that have found their way to the page in my writing. I love Hazel and can't wait until she is given her place on the pages of Maple Sugar Pie. Strong females that create family and place for the people in their lives. Again I have been given a summer to do just that. Five more sleeps Paige said this morning . Her excited voice echoes the love she has of place and family and this farm on the Walton Lake Road. Yesterday I drove to Fredericton and met with a McMaster student who interviewed me for a study she is undertaking on the relationship between Canadian literature and Canadian identity. I spoke about my identity and my sense of place. It was an interesting discussion. I stood in front of what used to be the Fredericton Library when I was a kid. This impressive building was a huge part of my childhood. I remember walking down the hill to this building that held volumes of possibility for a young imagination. I would select several hard covered treasures and walk back up the hill taking the characters and the places home with me. My favorite books in those years were Enid Blyton's Adventure series set in England and Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables books set in Prince Edward Island. I write stories set on the Walton Lake Road and on the Saint John River. Stories of families and life set in different places but telling of experiences that are universal. Geography, landscape and climate, culture and history all thrown in and impossible to separate from the character and plot. We are who and what we have come from. We are where we are rooted or where we have ended up and are shaped by the world around us. Change is constant , is seasonal, is fluid and solid. The summer before me will be spent mainly outside letting the sun , the earth, the water and the wonder of growth fill me up allowing me to open my mind to the stories within that wait to be written .

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Grow Toward the Light

As I do so many nights I had a period of wakefulness last night in which I thought about a wide range of things. One thing that went through my mind for some reason was the series of places in Waiting For Still Water when characters give advice to Rachel. I thought about the relationships and the type of advice each person offered hoping as a writer I didn't make them all the same. I hope each interaction showed something true about the characters relationships, the past they shared and the trust they have developed. Rachel had Zac, Raymond, Jodie, Amelia, Kate , her father, her grandmother and Ryan all offer her gems of wisdom, advice and encouragement. This morning that train of thought led me to think of who in my life offers me that same gift. I have many and for each one I am thankful. But in thinking that and remembering back to the many times in the last few years I have relied on the wisdom and caring of those friends and family members it occurs to me that after all the words , all the deep debates, all the caring talk the getting on with things always comes right back to me , to each one of us to do what we need to do ourselves. We are blessed with relationships and support systems but the real putting our feet on the floor each day and then putting one foot in front of the other always comes right down to each one of us. No one can do the hard work for you. Others can offer advice and carry you along but the heavy lifting so to speak is done individually. Finding the way to make sure you are doing that seems to be the key. Some days I must remind myself what those things are and simply make sure I do them. Today at the top of the list I take the time to clear my head of these thoughts by writing this entry. I will then tackle the other things on my list. First I will drop seeds in the row and begin growing the huge impressive sunflowers that the Kong seeds gave me last year. Grow toward the light. Stand tall once you have put your feet on the floor. Take the gifts like sun, water and attention and let others help you along the way but find that deep faith to believe that what really matters comes from within.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Garden Days

The first seeds are in the ground and today rain is soaking the dry dusty earth. I am anxious to get more planting done but today I will watch the raindrops and wait for my next planting day. I look forward to another growing season. I love to watch the green sprouts force their through the ground. Weeding and hoeing will become my daily activity as I watch the plants develop. Yesterday I took a swim mid afternoon and I will be happy to settle into that routine. I have to go back up to Rolie's and get the rest of my flowers. My writing has stopped for the summer and I will let my ideas take root while the garden grows so that I will be ready to return to work in September. Another summer season with all its gifts and all the hard work is beginning.