Friday, May 2, 2008


Saturday I went to Pete's Greenhouse. As I filled my cart with geraniums, petunias, and English ivy, I felt a little like the family that skips worship services all year long, then prances into church Easter Sunday and settles on the front pew. Months had passed since I'd shopped at Pete's for plants.

After a few strolls around the greenhouse I relaxed. When one of the workers exclaimed, "Oh, I love white flowers. Aren't you going to get some Dusty Silver?," I started to believe I belonged there.

Later at home, I added new potting mix to my window box and dug holes for the flowers. After planting them, Jerry and I trimmed back the boxwood to allow for a clearer view. The meager task paled to the daily activity of my past gardening years. But it was a start.

Yesterday I returned to my historical novel, the one that that has caused me to struggle more than any other book I've attempted. A lot had happened since I'd last looked at the manuscript. In September, the story traveled from my Texas home to New York City. I visited schools and conferences. The Christmas tree was decorated, defrocked and put away. Then in January, Christy read the story and sent me her editorial letter.

When her letter arrived, my mind was wrapped around the third Piper Reed story. I read and reread the letter, but I couldn't reenter that world. I put the historical aside and finished the Piper book.

Time is a writer's best friend. Though I haven't glanced at its pages, I've been thinking about the historical. Somewhere between sleep and dreams I discovered a missing element that needed to be added. I also realized what must be trimmed so my reader could have a clearer view.

Yesterday I opened my notebook. It took a few moments to familiarize myself with the story and the people that lived among its pages. At first I was overwelmed at the job ahead of me. Could I really do this? Then I let the pen travel across the page, marking out a timeline. It wasn't much, but it was a start. I had begun to dig in again.

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