Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Creativity in the Garden

This time of year, it's hard to stay inside and get any real work done when the sunshine is beckoning outside. Last week I made my first trip to a gardening center and spent more money than I intended on annuals and hanging baskets. It takes a stronger woman than me to resist the colors and smells of wet earth and possibilities of what my garden and front porch can look like with a minimal amount of tender loving care.

I spent too much money, bought more flowers than I have room for and came home and got creative. This is my favorite time of year even though I don't have as much money or time and desire to do to my yard and flowerbeds what my father does in his.

I like to think part of my creative bent came from him. As far as I know, he's never strung a word picture together in his head or penned a song or even wrote a love letter. His creativity is in the garden. People stop to admire his handiwork all summer long. He is considered an expert on anything green. They ask for advice and the names of some of the more exotic plants growing in his flower beds. Most importantly, they marvel at how much an old man who can't walk without the aid of a cane and a scooter has accomplished.

Since becoming published in 2004 I suddenly became an expert on writing. My creative outlet has always been through my pen. People now seek my advice on everything from inspiration to sentence structure to finding a publisher. I've never exactly been the person people turn to for advice. The retiring second of four girls, people tended to forget I existed among the melee that was my house. Expecting them to turn to me for advice and hang on my every word is still new to me.

Regardless of the attention and praise my work has received, I still prefer the creative side of writing. If I had my druthers, I would make very few public appearances. Alas, that's not the way of the writing business anymore. Marketing is paramount. A writer approached me the other day about adding a 3-D interactive community to their website to encourage reader participation and build a buzz about the books. It's the way of the future. Creativity is only a small part of the business writers are now expected to be expert in.

Where will it end? When will we have time to do what we want to do, which is to create? When will we be able to step away from the computer and get back outside with nature to rejuvenate our spirits? I don't know if any writer will ever have the optimal work balance. I know I haven't found it. But I'm searching. For now, the sun is shining, the mild morning temperatures promise an afternoon of sunshine and warm breezes later. I think I'll go outside and enjoy the day the Lord has created.

Have a great one!

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