Saturday, September 22, 2012


Writing is not easy.

Reading, I suspect, alters our perception.

We pick up a book and relish the prose, yet think not of the craft. We consume, yet think not of the production.

Gifted writers entice and captivate with rivulets and torrents of words which, in their very juxtaposition, generate images, evoke feelings, signify a mood, set a scene. Good writing belies the labor of the craft, for it impresses upon the reader an eloquence, a rhythm, a flow, an economy of words that, in its precision, exemplifies efficiency.

The activity of writing is much, much messier.
Nay, writing is brutal: brutal only because good writing entails not simply composition but editing, or a curious, objective, unsentimental, unforgiving approach to one's work. Editing demands disposal of the product, excision of text; reconstruction of prose; revision of ideas. It demands we confront our best work and declare it ineffective, in need of improvement.

Nature proves an apt model. I've complained this summer of my Sclerotium rolfsii which has killed ever so much in my garden. I've complained of drought. And now I complain about all of the empty spaces.

But as I walked around this morning, I was struck by how effective an editor nature really is.

What remains is an essence: a prominence of elegant burgundies and purples, as supplied by the vibrant ethereal hues of Tall Purpletop Verbena against those svelte limbs of Rose Mallow, which deepen in intensity as the days grow shorter,

which contrast so perfectly with the silvery hues of Helene von Stein Lamb's Ear when set against a backdrop of the Happy Single Flame dahlia (which has produced hundreds of buds and few flowers owing to a parasite that eats the buds from the inside out). 

On the lower level in the front garden, Helene von Stein finds company with Eupatorium 'Chocolate' Snakeroot, which itself is paired (deliberately) with Lavatera Red Rum so as to accentuate the latter's burgundy stems.

The effect is, if I may, one of Teutonic efficiency, and militaristic precision.


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