Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Hundred Packets of Seed while a Real Writer Muses (annuals, flowers, wriiting, James Fenton,

With thanks to Vonetta Young
A real writer sits at a clean, tidy desk on a green ball or a standup affair to produce a submittable essay or story.
A real writer has requests pouring in from publishers, agents, editors.
A real writer knows who her readers are.
A real writer easily moves from Executive to Peon, structuring and generating.
A real writer writes more than an hour a day.
A real writer doesn’t go out to lunch unless she’s pitching a story.
A real writer has a resume of publications, not just one online travel piece.
A real writer understands chronology and knows the difference between the situation and the story.
A real writer has multi-dimensional characters even in her memoir.
A real writer reads for craft and understands the difference.
A real writer supports her fellows by attending readings and signings.
A real writer has a notebook with her at all times to jot down thoughts, ideas.
A real writer keeps a pen and tablet by the bed for nocturnal enlightenment.
A real writer uses a fountain pen.
A real writer revises online but generates with a pen.
A real writer has a MAC.
A real writer is not afraid to email her editor for help.
A real writer doesn’t take any more craft classes which are just an excuse.
A real writer does go to workshops but more often she goes to retreats for solitary work.
A real writer puts her social media on hold while working.
A real writer has an elevator pitch for her project.
A real writer of memoir has read the key memoirs, the Tobias Wolff, Mary Karr, Nabokov and can rattle off their techniques.
A real writer has a neat office in which to work and an unshaded window from which to gaze, vacantly.
A real writer has a log of production and submissions just like Priscilla Long recommended.
A real writer interviews subjects of stories.
A real writer has a book in her, either online, on paper, or in her mind.
A real writer does not jump up to answer the buzzer.
A real writer is dedicated to her craft.
A real writer would rather write than watch movies or read or go out drinking.
A real writer feels the call.
A real writer has a filing system, on word docs and on her desk and in her cabinets.
A real writer focuses.
A real writer does not noodle around like this.

There is an orange aeroled daffodil against a royal blue vase in a grey-tiled bathroom. How can the scent of almond cake extend all the way to my study while I work vigorously on a shiny new laptop without touching it? Without laying hands upon its pristine keys because I have a little plastic keyboard which is at an ergonomic height. The new laptop sits where the old Dell did. It perches atop two gardening encyclopedias and those rest on a wooden box. Is there anything in the wooden box. I have no idea. Packets of seed. Articles on pruning. Old photos. Perhaps a copy of James Fenton’s little book, One Hundred Packets of Seed, a gem in itself. I pick up that book - but where is it? - and I am compelled to plant at least thirty or forty packets of seeds. Fenton had a little more room on his British acreage than we do here on our urban farm. Some of my past enthusiasms still appear, the bluebells (heaven help me), the bachelor buttons, but there are many I would like to see again: cosmos, that intense lime green plant which looks so good in a vase of flowers, starts with an E?, Stock and morning glory and dianthus and foxglove, lupines, sea holly, yarrow, that drippy fuzzy red plant, poppies, pom poms. As The Guardian reviewer, Tim Adams, writes:

"What Fenton delights in mostly are intensity of colour and vibrancy of life. He rejects prissy notions of subtle palettes: the extension of the good taste greys and blues and whites of the Elle Decoration living-room beyond the French windows."

So, you see, Dear Reader whoever you are, I have gone from bemoaning the state of my writing to a tiny treatise on what I want to be doing, at least metaphorically, planting seeds for a colorful and  vibrant garden. A garden of words. And so it happens right here on 750 words. And the day drifts along.

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