Monday, November 25, 2019

The Holly Tree

The Holly Tree When I built my house almost nine years ago (friggin wow), I planted holly trees on two corners of the structure, one to the left of my study window. Because I love birds, I yearned for the day the tree grew tall and thick enough for me to see its bird visitors from that window. You see, my window is fifteen feet off the ground. I planted a three-foot tree. It would be a while. But I watered the tree, did some serious pruning on it every couple of years to shape it, and made sure it was free of disease. Its a beautiful plant with its shiny, deep green leaves and occasional berries. It grew, but I could only see it when I went outside and stood next to it. Sometime during 2013, I heard a mockingbird outside being particularly loud. On occasion a bird, usually a tiny wren or house finch, or even a rare goldfinch, will perch on my window sill seeking bugs. Since I write late into the night, my window holds the only light in the cove. Being in the country, we dont do streetlights, so dark is DARK out here. The bugs flock to my window, unfortunately for me, but fortunately for the birds that gobble them up the next day. Anyway, the mockingbird song puzzled me. Sliding to my window, I listened hard for the direction. Sure enough, he perched atop the holly tree. I could see him! I could hear him. It had been so long since I tried to see the tree from my window that Id forgotten it was even there . . . except when I went outside and watered it, and pruned it. I hope you can see that the point is obvious. We plant our butts in the chair and we plant words on a page. We keep at it, writing, creating, editing, even submitting. We do it, knowing it might be a long while before its matured. Then one day, and it might be several years from when you started, you look up and there it is. Your work has grown into mature, viable, and gorgeous stories. I hear so many writers talk about waiting for the right moments to write, or getting depressed about rejection, or reading so many ridiculous blog posts that tell them how long their odds are to get published. They write in spurts. They forget writing for the summer, or the winter, or the holidays. They are forgetting to water and prune their holly tree. Even if you cannot imagine success, you keep writing. Just as we love gardening, we love writing, and we tend them religiously, just the same. Because one day, well look up, and there it will be . . . that story we always imagined, sitting there, singing to the world.

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