I love gardens, but I’m not a gardener.
My home is set in a half acre of trees, flowers, and grasses. I love its mix of wild and cultured growth. A thousand shades of green (maybe more), dotted with roses and wild flowers, populated by five kinds of bees (I counted) and two kinds of hummingbirds. Paradise.
This Eden came with our home. Someone who was very much a gardener loved this land and created this beauty. I am the grateful recipient of their creative soul.
You will see me outside watering, clearing pathways, pruning back the abundant wild blackberries lest they completely take over. They would. Their joyful growth would cover all in a rush for the sun. They have the area along the fence at the bottom of the garden, and will have to be content with that.
Today I realized being the writer of a book is like my shifting not-gardener status.
I love books, but I always claimed I’d never have the patience to write one. All that time on a single project—not me.
Look at me now. Here I am, determined to see this book into full, abundant growth.
The secret is the same as with my garden. I loved what was already present, and out of that love, I began tending to it.
I love reading. I love words and what they do for my heart. I love playing with word puzzles. I’d started writing a book when I was eight, and again when I was eleven. I loved writing stories in school and university, and I let myself forget that during my love affair with drawing.
Writing was within me. For years, words showed up as background and foreground in my drawings, as poems that burst forth in the midst of my sketchbooks, as morning pages, as essays accompanying my art shows.
Like the wild blackberries, writing showed up all around me, asking for a place of its own to grow and flourish.
Unlike the wild blackberries, I chose to let writing sprout up everywhere in my life. The more I wrote, the richer my writing time became.
And now here I am. I am an artist who writes. I am an artist creating a book.
I’ve surprised myself. I do have enough patience to take the time to grow a single project.
I may be wrong about being a not-gardener, too.
In this post:
The image is from a sketchbook I created for the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project 2018. I titled my sketchbook The Secret Garden. It’s the garden of my heart. You can view the entire artwork here https://www.walkingowlstudio.ca/gallery/the_sketchbook_project_the_secre/