As I am newer to gardening then writing, I will say that I am surprised to find how frustrating it is to plant seed after seed and see nothing come up. Not unlike the hours spent staring at an empty page or scrawling nonsense in a journal only to have it come to nothing. I know that my husband would tell me that no writing is pointless. Experts on the subject would tell me that most of the writing I do will never be published and no one but myself will ever read it, and that is as it should be. But some part of me can’t quite accept the idea that I pour myself into material that will never be read. Isn’t that the point of writing, to be read? I suppose a purist to the written word would disagree, but I cannot. Some write to record and make sure nothing is forgotten. Others write to amuse themselves. Yet I have never mastered either of these arts. Perhaps I shall as I grow older and wiser, but for now I write every word with the desperate need for it to be read and with the inner terror that it never will be. If I put my life into a work and nothing comes of it, does that mean that my life was a waste?
I write because I love to read. Perhaps it is supposed to be the other way around. Yet I garden because I love the flowers, not because I enjoy playing in the dirt. Is there a difference? I watch the plants I cultivate grow in the backyard. The annuals are easy, and gorgeous, but their beauty is tempered by the knowledge that they won’t be back next year. Like a story written in chalk on the sidewalk only to be washed away by the rain. The perennials are harder, and result in disappointment after disappointment, but if only a few take root, at least I know they will be back next year. The worst agony is realizing that the weeds have been left to flourish and the hard earned seedlings have been pulled up in error, mistaken for weeds. Not unlike paragraphs hastily slashed in frustration or anger only to be dug out of the rubbish later and desperately reconstructed. Perhaps they were important after all. All the transplanting and repotting both inside and out, barely seems worth the effort at times. I revise and edit sometimes to improve, other times to avoid the new material I know I must write. It is a messy, dirty process; one to be reveled in or dreaded depending on my mood. Yet I know the joy that comes from laboring among the blooming flowers. I have seen it in the faces of the gardeners I know, whose devotion to their craft is so deep that they no longer see it as work. If only my writing could be that way: rejoicing in a completed paragraph page or chapter and finding that I do not feel guilty for the time spent at my laptop typing away while unharvested vegetables rot on the vine.