Flowering Determination

On Sunday night, we heard our first toad of the year singing in our tiny (120 gallon) backyard pond.  This makes it officially Spring.  Mind you, nighttime temperatures still frequently drop to below freezing.  Forty-degree temperature shifts are not at all uncommon here, where a mile-high elevation means I can find myself wearing a short sleeved tee-shirt in the daytime and a sweater at night.

Amaryllis with a Twist

Amaryllis with a Twist

So I’m fighting a desire to put in a garden because, even though part of me is dancing around saying “Spring is here at last!”,  it’s quite likely that seeds would rot in the ground and plants just sulk and/or get frostbite.  Or broken in half by high winds.  Our catalpa trees made the mistake of starting to leaf out and currently show some bad burn.  They’ll recover, though.

As a sop to our gardening Cerberus, we’ve planted some tomato seeds in our little seed starter.  Are you familiar with Miyazaki’s film My Neighbor Totoro?  If you are, imagine me as little Mei checking the garden after she and her sister Satsuki have planted the nuts and seeds the totoro gave them.  I don’t quite hunker down like a crab and stare, but I do check the seed starter several times a day, just in case.  I will not admit to whether or not I do the “totoro dance.”  My dignity needs some preservation.

A much more rewarding plant-watching activity is watching our two amaryllis grow.   Amaryllises surge forth visibly in the course of a day.  On the first day we brought them out, only one bulb showed a tiny green leaf tip.  Today – about two weeks later – they’re already flowering.  Very satisfying indeed.

These amaryllis plants are descended from one given to me for Christmas by a friend many years ago.  Last year, I had to split the bulb, which resulted in the very odd stalk that you can see in the accompanying picture.  I like the determination it illustrates.  Visual depictions of determination are something every writer needs.

Yes…  It’s spring in New Mexico, which is about as different as you can get from the “drip-drip-drop little April showers” you may remember from Disney’s Bambi. Still, it’s nice looking out the window and seeing some green, even if the green is largely what most people would call “weeds,” but we consider valuable stabilizing elements in our very sandy yard.

What else is going on?

This coming Saturday I’m the “Featured Speaker” at the UNM writer’s conference.  My slot comes up right after lunch.  I’m still putting my talk together, but I’ve collected some neat material and looking forward to it.  Perhaps I’ll see a few of you there.

I heard from David Weber, and he likes my story for the forthcoming (but as of yet unscheduled) “Safehold” anthology.  My story is called “Brother Against Brother,” and is set during the colonization of Safehold.

I’ve also finished typing up the “handwritten project” and started reading it aloud to myself.  It came in at around 54,500 words.  No idea whether my read through will end up making it longer or shorter.  What I do know is that I’m feeling increasingly excited about it.

Yes.  It does have a title: Asphodel.

Now I’m going to go emulate my amaryllis and see how I can make my writerly garden grow!

4 Responses to “Flowering Determination”

  1. David Dunham Says:

    Our Amaryllis inside has flowered and died back, but the one outside, beneath the banana trees, is still in full bloom. Even better, we harvested two bananas, this week, with more ripening on the tree!

    Writers talk a lot about how to write, but did you ever encounter trouble in switching mental gears between one story and another? Did you ever have trouble working on more than one at the same time?

    • Jane Lindskold Says:

      Banana tree…. With Bananas… I will make the brilliant deduction that you live somewhere warm.

      Switching mental gears. Trouble. Absolutely! And I’m not the only one. Both David Weber and S.M. Stirling mentioned during (separate) chats that they had experimented with one project for a couple hours, then another. Both discovered that the time spent “getting into” the projects was markedly increased.

      As for me, I can edit one thing, write another. I can even work on two for a short transition period (as, for example, when I was alternating between a Stephanie Harrington novel and an “Artemis” novel, and having to coordinate with Weber), but ultimately, I had to switch to focus on just one.

      How about you?

      • David Dunham Says:

        I have huge trouble focusing on more than one at a time. I wish I could edit one while creating another. Until I can master that, I won’t achieve my dream.

        Yes, you are brilliant.

        Hope your talk at UNM went well.

      • Jane Lindskold Says:

        The talk did go well. Gave me some thoughts that I am going to save for this Wednesday!

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