Tuesday, May 08, 2007

When the Garden Grows . . .



I've given Abigail another day to twiddle her thumbs while I keep tweaking Flynn and Sara and, on breaks, read bits and pieces of Fran Sorin's Digging Deep.

I've found a lot of the things she talks about in terms of planning a garden are rather like putting stuff in the box that Twyla Tharp mentions in The Creative Habit. It's finding pictures, textures, shapes, blends that evoke a response in me or in the story I want to tell.

But in this case, it's like choosing the plants and flowers and trees I find appealing. Something about them touches a chord in me, evokes a memory, calls forth a feeling.

When I began Flynn and Sara, I had some plants already there in my garden because they'd been in an earlier book. But then I had to go about finding other pieces that belonged with them, too.

Why they belonged together was rarely clear to me when I started. It was probably some instinctual sense that went with the story I didn't even understand. But I had to plant them. I had to see how they would go together.

And now the garden has grown. The flowers are up, the plants are in full leaf. The trees are providing shade and contrast. And now I see how it all comes together.

I had no idea when I got Flynn that he was an earl, that he had a castle, that he had father issues. I knew he had a son. That was something he didn't know. I knew Sara had changed her mind about what she thought was most important in life. I knew she needed to defend herself from being hurt again. I didn't realize she knew how to make a home. Or that that was what Flynn so badly needed. But when everything came together, that's what grew. Their lives complemented each other. They contrasted with each other. And together they created a story that echoes Flynn's and Sara's love.

But when I started, I had no idea what would happen. I just had to plant. And trust. And then see the connections, find the resonances. Maybe transplant a little bit. (I'll stop now before I mis the metaphor any worse).

Anyway, it's great fun going back now and finding out how the garden has grown, discovering the theme I never knew was there.

When I find a theme you know I'm near the end -- or that I'm hallucinating. Keep your fingers crossed.

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