Defenseless Plants and other stories

A few weeks ago, I mentioned having had—and enjoyed—a nice long conversation with my mama about art in church. Some of the thoughts from that conversation made it into an article, which my old friend Justin Boyer published this week on his Christian thought blog, TheoCult. It's written ecumenically, for both Mom's sake and Justin's, and I honestly loved writing on that topic. Check it out if you're interested. Hope you like it. :)

And now... the Today meme is hosted by Masha! Join in over at Piękno, or leave your own sensory notes in the combox. Today I am...

* * *

Feeling... odd. Shaky. Hopeful. A little bit alight. Here's what happened:

This summer I've been considering giving up on my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel, A.D.'s story, together with its sequel and worlds and characters and everything. This early fall, I've been hearing whispers in my ear that I'm one of those writers that, as Flannery O'Connor suggested, academia ought to stifle outright.

Tuesday, after a bout of discouragement with my fairy tale retelling immediately followed by a bout of discouragement with my ability to write decent music, I sat down to my journal and wrote this:
That thing where you are convinced that nothing you write can ever be good enough. That the critic will always be Right and you will always be Wrong... When it's halting both your novels and your music... What do you do?
And I stared at the words, pathetic as they are. Stared long and hard, and thought of A.D., and of Mom saying that I ought to consider reverting to the previous draft, and of the reasons she says that—they're serious—and the reasons I can't quite go that far. And I thought: I'm going to pull up that old draft and read one of the emotional scenes, a scene I haven't looked at or worked on this year. If there's something worth saving, I'll see it in that scene.

I read it. And as I finished it and scrolled back up, the epiphany hit—the way to save that story.

It's beautifully simple. It means starting over again from the beginning and working from both old and new drafts, but this time I'm mostly not revising—I'm just rewriting. Keeping scene, character, setting, storyline, mood, but modifying the voice. Making it work for the audience it's designed for.

The other book has to be prioritized, but A.D. must be rescued. I'm giving myself three days a week when I can work on her tale. But hey, I once rewrote half this book in nine days—it's just a matter of knowing exactly what I need to do and getting mentally and emotionally caught up into it.

I am caught up into it. For the first time in well over a year. It feels wonderful.

* * *

Seeing... that it's a huge mistake to leave a defenseless plant on the dining table overnight. But then, I knew that.

The poor little peace lily wishes I would've remembered to put it back
out of Maia's reach...
But something this cute can get away with anything it wants, right?

Also, more autumn:


Peony bushes

...some kind of white non-edible berry bush

Mums growing under the crocosmia

One of the last fairy roses

* * *

Smelling... coffee. So needed.

Tasting... well, tonight we're having family to dinner. I'm making orange salmon, cream of leek and chicken soup, Caesar salad, and Italian parmesan bread in the bread maker. Also, baked brie. None of that is prepped, and the house isn't clean yet either, so possibly I should not be blogging right now.

* * *

Listening... to vintage Evanescence. I am no Amy Lee, either as vocalist or pianist, but this has been fun to learn to play. Also, I totally love her skirt.

Grateful... for the ability to love writing fiction again.

* * *

Reading... A Ceremony of Innocence by Dorothy Cummings MacLean. It was pretty hard to put down yesterday; I'm not allowing myself to pick it up again till after company leaves tonight, or I'll forget to clean house and cook dinner.

Studying… This week I got in two study sessions on Evoking Sound and one on music theory, which felt good, although I just about burned my brain out on the last. My knowledge of music theory is desperately patchy. Most of what I do is instinctive and self-taught; hence the aforementioned lack of confidence.

Maybe next week I'll get Spanish in there, too.

Working on... two novels, naturally, and ensemble prep for the upcoming concert.

* * *

Loving... surprises that come in the mail after you more or less forget you ordered them. Look at our baby quince tree! I am so excited about this.

Hoping... for a happy evening with the family tonight, and for lots of quiet time for Lou and I around concert rehearsal and cantoring this weekend. He wants to work, and I want to write.

Happy weekend!


  1. Don't listen to Flannery. Just because she's a Great American Writer doesn't mean she knows what she's talking about. Yay for the way being clear! Go, go, go, go!

    1. :D Thanks for the permission--I have a hard time giving myself that.

  2. Yay nano! and Yay for novels! I'm glad you discovered a solution! I'm always in awe of people who write novels and edit them. I lack the discipline and the motivation! Keep going!

    The Quince tree looks lovely! We have one here with fuzzy apple like fruit on it. I have no idea what they are used for, but it looks nice....

    1. Quince? Jam, jelly, infusions... they're supposed to be spectacular. The fruit tends to be too astringent to eat raw, but once cooked up, it's good. I've poached a quince in simple syrup and spices, and that was tasty. I've got half a flowering quince in the back yard already, and it makes tiny little rock-hard relatives of the quince fruit--more vitamin C than a lemon!--so we're going to try infusing them in vodka or brandy with sugar, if I can get them to ripen enough.

  3. This may sound odd, but that's lively composition on the peony plant!

    Yay for being able to rescue your story that you've worked so hard on. You are a good writer and I believe in you!!


  4. Oops, I meant lovely composition. Forgot to proofread!


    1. Hahahaha! You said "This might sound odd..." so I was like, well, lively? Okay. I'm sure it was a compliment! But the clarification definitely helped! :) And I'm glad you liked the photo--your husband is such a master that I figure you know at least twice what I do.

      Thanks for the kind encouragement on the novel, too!

  5. FYI - a comment or two from Reddit groups on your art post...



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