May 15, 2010

First Rose


 (Oh.  Sorry about the white speckles.  Atlas had been sanding over her head.)  Which, given the weather we’ve been having—I had my dahlia cuttings indoors overnight again two days ago—is pretty frelling good going.  This is Old Blush, who does have a quite extraordinary drive to produce flowers.  She does the usual repeating-rose thing of a first big flush, followed by a rest, followed by a second not-so-big flush.  But Old Blush’s speciality is that she starts early, goes on till late, and is rarely without one or two or three flowers up to about eight months of the year, depending on how friendly the weather is.  Sometimes she has time for a third flush.  Generally speaking she’ll go on putting out flowers till it positively freezes—I’ve told you I’ve had roses on Christmas Day from Old Blush—and then I assume she shuts down for a while because the daylight hours are so short;  I’ve had her first flowers the beginning of May rather than the middle, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them earlier than that.   One of the nice things about Old Blush is that she’s pink;  the early, mostly so-called ‘species’ * roses tend to be yellow.  Although cantabrigiensis** is one of the highlights of my year.***   

Don’t forget there’s another week to get your entries in to the PEGASUS ARC contest

Your odds are still best here on the blog forum—and it’s not really that much of a faff getting signed up—and then, you know, you might be moved to make a comment.  Like these people did, in response to one of my AskRobin† answers.  Someone asked about writing motivation, and I answered that the best motivation is the sheer need to write.†† 

Bonniebythepeak wrote:

Michael Seidman, editorial consultant, once quipped the following to a bunch of wide-eyed, aspiring authors clutching bits of their darling manuscripts to their chests. He said, “If I can talk you out of becoming a writer, I’ve done you a service, and if I can’t talk you out of becoming a writer, I’ve done you a service.” These words, uttered in my hearing over five years ago, stayed with me . . . 

I used to run seminars occasionally and motivation always comes up.  (It comes up at least once a week in my email, for that matter.)   The looks on the faces of your audience vary from pity (‘she doesn’t understand me and my genius’) to offended (‘she doesn’t understand me and my GENIUS’).  In a good group you’ll get a few who look worried or thoughtful.  And they’re the ones who probably should keep writing.  One of the frustrations of the seminar-runner—and, I’m sure, the professional editor—is that the burning compulsion to write has NO direct connection with or relevance to the ability to write anything that strangers will want to read. 

            One memorable seminar††† contained singularly blatant examples of both extremes.  There was a young woman whose entire life was fanatically devoted to writing . . . and shouldn’t be.  No, no, no, for the sake of both you and the world, get a job in a nice cat rescue home or something.  And there was a young man who was taking the course my seminar was the culmination of almost as a joke.  He was pre-med and wanted to demonstrate that he wasn’t one of these cold clinical types with a collection of ticking gears where his heart should be.  And the story he turned in was good.  GOOD.  It wasn’t good for a writing seminar for amateurs, it was GOOD‡.  He was bemused at my reaction and on my suggestion that he should do it again admitted that writing it had kind of, you know, bothered him:  here he was, a dedicated science nerd, and he found himself writing from bits of himself he didn’t usually let out in public.  Yes.  I’m afraid that is how it works.  I have no idea if he ever wrote another story—or if he ever tried to get the one he had written published. 

EMoon wrote: 

On the need to write…yes. It’s pressure building inside and it can become volcanic. The first year we sent our son off to the special-needs camp, I had four days to write–the first time in years, at that point, that I’d had uninterrupted time. The book I was working on took a sharp left turn into a rocky gorge full of sharp rocks and Class Five rapids and I wrote more per day than I ever had (or have since.) I couldn’t stop until my hands literally stiffened to immobility, all four days.                                                                                           

            I can write useless stuff (arguing online…that pig will never sing) or useful stuff (nonfiction) or Story. But I can’t not write. Not writing is never an option. Not making Story is never an option. I was on a train sidelined for another train once and the woman beside me was getting antsy (she was headed for a funeral)…I’d told her I was a writer, and she was mildly interested (or said she was.) So, from what was visible from the train, I started a story–our loud instead of in my head or in a notebook, the way I usually do. After fifteen or twenty minutes she was perked up and even suggesting details. Together we developed a spy thriller (she’d mentioned she read spy stories) based on the view.

I answered on the forum:  And did you DO anything with your spy thriller???‡‡                                                

             Yes–I’m pretty much the same. I half wish I would get stuck somewhere so I could write something . . . frivolous. Like one of the short stories I tweeted [sic] about. I can’t justify taking PEG time off–but if I were STUCK somewhere without PEG with me, you know . . .

            And I’ll add here on the blog that while I still haven’t got the frelling balance right‡‡‡ the blog serves a useful purpose in that it gives me somewhere to write, to feel that I am writing, especially pertinent when Story in Progress is kicking the sh*t out of me. §  

Which is more or less the point Wren makes: 

The need to write? That’s what blogs are for! Doesn’t even matter if someone else actually reads it; if anyone does — thank you! Hope you enjoy it. Only downside is that blogs don’t pay well enough (or at all, in my case) to buy the chocolate.

Well, I’m not in the taking-advertising category yet either.  And since I doubt anyone I’d be willing to have plastered on my blog§§ would find such exposure worth the investment I think I’m probably just going to have to go on being free

* * *

 * Which rather ineptly expressed merely means nearer their wild progenitors, and not so intensely mucked around by human gardeners with agendas. 

**  You have to scroll down—she’s the pale yellow one on the left.  I’ll try to post one (or several) of my own photos one of these days.  This one does give you some sense of both her colour and her exuberance. 

*** As is banksiae lutea^ if she’d ever frelling flower.  I think she may be part wisteria^^ however, and it’s just taking her a few years. 


Speaking of exuberance. 

^^ JOKE.  


††† Of about twenty people, which is way too many.  I was younger then. 

‡  Yes.  He was also cute.  But I was too old for him even then. 

‡‡ Answer still pending. 

‡‡‡ I’ve been thinking about this again . . . 

§ Pegasi are gentle beings who weigh zip for their size because their bones are hollow.  Who knew they have a kick like a cross between a mule and a Sako TRG? 

§§ The English National Opera?  Or the Met?  Or Glyndebourne?  Peter Beales’ Roses?  Or Harkness Roses?  Hampshire sighthound rescue?  The Ringing World?  Converse All Stars?  Green & Black’s?  Taittinger?  Veuve Clicquot?


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