My father keeps sending me pictures of his garden. He's retired, and he finds great joy tending to his rocks and shrubs. Since he lives in a drought sensitive zone, he plants only drought-tolerant flora. He calls his garden a "moonscape". It's true. The variety of cacti and rocks create a lunaresque impression. My father takes great pride in his creations.
You should also know that my father is a real rocket scientist, so a lunar landscape in his own backyard means something more to him. It's his chance to sit within an environment that 50 years ago he could only imagine. At 78, he has created his own life on the moon.
The other day, after viewing another digital photo, I realized something about my father's garden. Not only was it actually quite beautiful, it was also simple. Simple beauty. There was space between plants, and there were plants placed together that didn't really seem to go. But they did, in an odd exquisite sort of way.
Like I said, my father's a rocket scientist, not a gardener. He called in experts, landscapers, professionals to share their advice. He played with their ideas and mixed in his own creative design. Through some kind of symbiotic pairing, my father created this lovely lunar landscape where he can sit and reflect and simply be.
So it got me thinking about my writing. What can I learn from my father's garden? How is tending a garden like writing a novel?
I came up with a list of words that represent his process and results:
Simple. Time. Love. Joy. Pride. Creativity. Advice. Experts. Sharing.
I realized that writing is like gardening. You begin with love. You infuse creativity. You seek advice from experts and share with others. In the end - or even during - you feel a sense of joy and pride. All of this takes time. But most importantly, writing - like gardening - thrives with less. Simplicity is key.
Why do you write? How is your time writing like tending a garden? Or does another life task serve as a metaphor for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please share.