Heather Graham: I'd like to introduce Ms. Cherry Adair as our guest at TLC today. Wait? You say she needs no introduction? That's quite possible. Cherry has received all kinds of awards and hit almost every list created for writers. And she does much, much more! Cherry isn't just friendly and kind (with a wickedly warm sense of humor, quick wit, and the ability to have you laughing in a flash) but she gives away "scholarships" and has "Pips" out there who win not just books in her giveaways, but wonderful opportunities. She has the same life were all living one--hectic, confusing, and torn constantly between or home situation and work--but she manages not only to produce, but encourage others to keep the upper lip, get out there and go forth, and be her "Pips!" And now, beware! The one thing Cherry isn't is shy! If you know Cherry, you'll already enjoy. If you don't know Cherry, you're in a for a treat. Come on now "Pips," pay attention!
Living in Seattle, I’m used to rain, drizzle, downpours, showers, cats-and-dogs, sprinkles, and everything in between. Normally we have the hot, glorious sunny days of Summer to off-set 8 months of gray. This year, one newscaster pithily claimed we’d had 87 minutes of Summer all year. Not true - we’ve had 3 days of summer. Three. Freaking. Days!
Most of the time I don’t really notice the weather. Despite living on a lake with a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier, I write facing a wall. As it is, I’m easily distracted. (Especially when I’m writing the dreaded first draft.) To be clear, I’m sidetracked by a worm crawling on a leaf in my garden. Imagine how diverted I’d be by a snow capped mountain reflected in the sparkling lake right outside my door.
I know I’d be much more aware, and annoyed, by this incessant rain if I had to drive to work every day. The closest I get to a commute is to put on make-up, dress and do my hair before making the journey downstairs to my office, which is just at the foot of the stairs. and a convenient ten feet from the kitchen. (A perfect location J) Instead of a lake/mountain view, I look out over my front garden.
Like writing (that #@%^* first draft), I love to have gardened (and hate to weed). And like writing, once the first draft, and clearing of the bed is done, you can’t pull me away. The fact that there have barely been any notable sunny days has no impact on my flowers. Rain or the invariable lack of shine, my lavish and glorious garden flourishes.
Bulbs come up where I don’t remember planting them, flowers bloom where I was sure I hadn’t planted anything, weeds thrive everywhere, and every year shrubs and trees grow bigger.
I have to admit, I’m not terribly well rounded. I write 23/7, which means everything revolves around the book I’m currently writing, the book that’s coming out in five minutes, or planning activities around a book in the near future. It’s all about The Book. And having it be all about The Book means I have tunnel vision.
A garden is a metaphor for life. Rain or shine, good or bad, life goes on. My garden reminds me that to have a more balanced life, I need to tend to my family and friends. My garden reminds me that friendships will continue, even in rocky dry soil. But also that friendships wither if I forget or get too busy to tend them. My garden reminds me that with hard work (even digging in rock-hard, dry stony ground) something beautiful will grow. It reminds me that anything worth having is worth putting in a little elbow grease. It reminds me to be patient, and that while I look impatiently for that glorious orange dahlia in this bed, it might come up over there instead.
Gardening reminds me to be patient, to expect and welcome the unexpected. It reminds me that there are worms and gophers, slugs and bugs, but there are also colorful butterflies and shimmery hummingbirds.
So I go out into my garden every day, rain or shine. Summer or pretend-Summer. I pull a few weeds, I joyfully jettison a few slugs, and amid all the dirt and mud, slug guts and occasional buried dog bones, I am surrounded by colors plucked from the sunset, painted by nature. Cultivated by me. It’s satisfying, even on gray days, knowing that I worked my ass off to get it this pretty.
Like all things in life, we reap what we sow.