Fall is my favorite season, especially now that I’m an adult (side note: my age says I’m all grown up, but I’m still waiting to feel like I have it all together!). As a child, the fall season meant a return to school and served as an open door to winter. Now, Fall is harvest time. After months in the garden planting, weeding, watering, and beating back mosquitoes, the tomatoes are ripe and the melons are ready. Pea pods drip off the vine and sunflower heads bow to teh close of the growing season.
Fall is now the ‘canning’ season, a whole new level of gardening that makes weeding look like a walk through a warm summer rain. Hot pots of water for blanching, skinning tomatoes, shucking peas, timing the water canner and always scalding my arms – that is the joy of canning (written with much sarcasm). But when the work is done, my shelves are filled with beautiful jars of preserved fruits, vegetables and venison. I can approach winter with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that should the power go out, should the economy claim our income, we would not starve.
Writing is much the same. A seed of an idea is planted, I weed out the subplots that confuse the reader, water the story with patience and hard work, beat back the droning buzz of nay-sayers, and finally harvest a completed story. But then the real work starts: submitting to agents and publishers. I prep my work with a clean query letter, a sweet-syrupy chapter-by-chapter synopsis, and a sample of my work. I feel burned by the scalding lack of a personal touch from the form rejections, but the need to fill my shelves with the finished product of my work drives me forward.
My bookshelves hold one completed and published book and I love to see it standing there next to C.S. Lewis, Madeleline L’Engle and Kathi Appelt – a few of the authors who inspire me to write (if you haven’t read Kathi’s The Underneath, stop what you are doing and go get it now! You will never regret it!) I look at my book and know that if I were snuffed out today, I’ve left my children a piece of a story of which I’m very proud. They will see their mother’s story between the lines of every story I write; for just as we can’t walk through life without leaving a footprint, neither can a writer tell a tale without leave a trace of herself on the page.
We harvest what we sow. Words, vegetables, love…it’s all what life thrives upon.