|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
1. I am a believer in the never ending process of learning. In that cause I would like to put out an invitation to poets living in the Ventura, California area. Wednesday nights, for the next six weeks, at 7 PM in Ventura at the Vita Art Center, 432 North Ventura Avenue, there will be an ongoing poetry workshop. This is a great opportunity to sharpen your craft and gather with other writers in the pursuit of excellence.
ALL WRITER'S SHOULD BE GARDENERS
Okay, show of hands. How many gardeners in the audience? How many have at least tried to grow something? How many of you feel that plants come to your place to die? Hey, it happens to the best of us.
What the hell am I talking about, anyway? You're a writer. You don't have time to be playing in the dirt! Have I finally gone right off the end? No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I'm probably talking more sense than you think.
First of all, time away from the keyboard is essential if you want to keep from growing stale, stymied, or just plain frustrated. Knocking around the yard, or the patio, or the community plot is a great way to recharge and rewind. Not to mention creating an environment that can give back to you.
Second, a garden can teach you innumerable lessons about writing. It can teach you research and planning. It can show the value of thorough preparation. Gardening is nothing if not an exercise in persistence and patience. It also teaches you to take pride and be grateful for the product of your own efforts.
Third, it can help you develop a thicker skin when it comes to disappointment. Face it, not every seed produces a shoot. Not every shoot grows into a seedling. Not every seedling eventually bears fruit. There's an old gardeners axiom, one third for the weather, one third for the pests, and one third for the farmer. In other words, it is better to over plant then to be left short when harvest time comes.
It's the same thing with writing. Not every idea we write down becomes a complete thought. Not every thought becomes a theme. Not every theme becomes a chapter. Not every chapter becomes a story, and there are just as many weeds on the best-seller list as there are tomatoes! What you do learn is that it is better to sow all those ideas and see which ones actually make it to maturity. The more you cultivate, the more you'll harvest.
Lastly, in just a practical sense, is the matter of what you grow. Yes, you want some kind of retreat that is gentle on the mind. Why not throw in a little something that's good on the belly? While I'm waiting for that publishing contract, with an option for movie rights, I've got a nice little vegetable and herb garden going. (No, Clyde! Not that kind of herb. I don't care if this is California, they still put you in jail for cultivation with intent!)
My wife and I share a hobby of canning pickles, sauces, chutney's and jams. Again, while it takes you away from the keyboard, it provides a satisfaction that all too often is hard to find in between Chapters Five and Six. It has also provided wonderful gifts to people we find special and who appreciate the products of our efforts. None of it comes overnight, just like the recognition we seek as authors. But eventually we find the audience that appreciates our efforts and that can be enough.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis