Friday, November 14, 2008

The Blog About Choices

Colleen Gleason begins her novel, The Rest Falls Away, with a quote from Muriel Rukeyser: "I think there is a choice possible to us at any moment, as long as we live. But there is no sacrifice. There is a choice, and the rest falls away."

Now, I have no idea to what the late great Ms. Rukeyser was referring, but I suspect it was something a bit more mundane than the choice between marrying a marquess or becoming a first-class vampire slayer, the choice Victoria Grantworth faces in Colleen Gleason's story. When I first read the quote, I rebelled against it. Of course a person would be aware of her choices in life and would be horribly torn by the sacrifice required to pursue some goal. But then I looked out my window and I noticed the state of my garden.

Just what does my garden have to do with making choices? If you saw it, believe me, you would know.

I used to be a pretty avid gardener, and while I admit to still pining for the garden at my old house, that doesn't entirely account for why the garden in my current yard looks like it's tended by a psychotic horticulturist with a black thumb. No, the garden is a weedy, seedy mess because it's one of those things that fell away this past year.

This has been a busy year of transition for me. For a while, I was spending a great deal of time caring for my aging mother. I also wrote for a local newspaper while pursuing fiction writing "on the side." This spring, Mom passed away and the newspaper folded, all in the same month. I decided I would devote myself full-time to writing fiction. Now I have one book in the final stages of editing, another under consideration by an editor at Harlequin - and a garden full of weeds and dead things. I know it's common for gardens to be full of dead things in the fall, but mine never used to be. I always loved planting fall-blooming flowers and bulbs, but I haven't done any of that for ages. I'm not even sure when I stopped gardening. It just fell off my list of things to do. At some point, a choice was possible. I never consciously said, "Well, the garden is the thing that's going to go." It just fell away.

What about you? Have you given up one love to pursue another? And were you conscious of the choice when you made it? Or did you just wake up one morning and realize your garden was full of weeds?


  1. Um, yeah - I actually have a pretty weedy garden too. You're right that there are choice that we make all the time. I make the choice to write - that means the garden doesn't get weeded too often and the kitchen floor doesn't get mopped as much as it ought too. But I'm happy with the choice I make.

    And it's not all just writing - I mean I don't neglect my children or anything (just the garden).

    Great blog - I look forward to reading more.

  2. Well, I try not to neglect my son too much. Fortunately, he's gotten to an age where he'd like to pretend I don't exist anyway - which gives me more time to write!

    And my floors - well, I just tell people they're part of a scientific experiment to see precisely how big dust bunnies can get. My hubby thinks they could correctly be termed "dust rhinos" at this point.

  3. Like everyone, some chores have become less important. I've also greatly reduced the amount of time I spend with my needlework.

    But, it's all been worth it.


  4. I'm a full time wife and mother. And now author. Yes, the house is pretty dirty. But then, I was never a good housekeeper, LOL. My boys are teenagers and as long as the fridge is stocked, they're happy ;). You're absolutely right, it's all about choices. Great blog!


  5. Hi Lynn

    I have heaps of weeds in my garden too. I love growing roses, but because we are enduring drought conditions here in Australia, and are on water restrictions, my roses are struggling a bit, although I have been able to pick a few blooms.

  6. Hi Lynn,

    I am glad I visited your blog. Your sense of humor comes through loud and clear, and I enjoyed reading all your posts.

    So sorry to hear of your loss.

  7. Wow--This is a really great review and comparison between choices and sacrifice. Thanks for sharing!

    ...and, uh, my garden looks pretty bad, too!

  8. LOL. I have a weedy garden, too, but I blame that on my oldest son. He works for a landscaper and set up the garden, tended it for the first year, then just abandoned it. As everything in my household does, it fell upon me to take over, but I'm just not a gardener and sort of gave up. I do keep up the house interior, though, but lately writing has taken priority over everything else, so my dining room table isn't cleared off as I tend to just let my family junk up the place, until I can't stand it anymore. LOL. Fortunately, my boys are all grown. The youngest is in college, so I no longer have child rearing responsibilities, thus more time for writing. But that wasn't really my choice. They just grew up.

  9. I'm glad to hear so many other writers have shabby gardens and dusty houses. The sad state of my garden is possibly of more significance to me since I live next door to the gardening equivalent of Martha Stewart. My neighbor has entire teams of day laborers who come in to help her maintain her garden full of exotic plants and (no lie) Italian sculptures. I guess I decided to give up on the garden since I couldn't hope to compete with or even equal her efforts!

    And Linda, you mentioning needlework reminds me of yet another thing I don't have time for anymore.

  10. To be honest, I had to laugh when I read your blog. My garden also was looking a little neglected this year. I never made the connection to writing, but I did write more this summer than I have in the past. Hmn? Some interesting food for thought. Thanks for sharing YOUR thoughts.

  11. Well, Debra, it's my excuse and I'm sticking to it ;-)

  12. I've cut back, if not entirely given up, on walking and a lot of exercising. I know I need to get back to it, but it seems like I either write a lot or exercising a lot. After the day job and the kids' activities, there's not a lot of time to split. As per my garden, it's a horrible mess of weeds, not that I was ever an avid gardner.

  13. Great blog, Lynn.

    I guess I've given up many of my passions when I decided to write. Gardening was one of them. But you know what... those weeds will be there next spring. And those lil' window gardens look kind of nice without all the upset when a gopher has lunch on your dime.

  14. Hi Lynn!
    What a great blog you've got going---very sorry to come to the party late! Oh yes, I was such an avid gardener at point we were actually doing the whole Homesteading thing where we pretty much lived off what my plowed nearly half acre patch yielded. And then life took off full blast and now I only do family and write. I have a dusty/furry house most of the time and at the moment I'm full up on leaves that are heaped everywhere. Someday....
    Take care, Ellen