Sunday, April 12, 2015

Writing and gardening

A couple of afternoons late last November I planted these daffodils and a whole load more. Earlier, in October, John had come back from B&Q with a great sackful, which was nice of him, but I have to say I found it pretty daunting (I'm the flower gardener - on the odd occasions when I get time! - and John sticks to pruning trees and spreading compost and things - when he gets time!). According to the gardening books, by late November I was cutting it fine and would miss the window if I didn't soon get out there, so one afternoon I pulled on my coat and hat and gardening gloves and went out with the sack of bulbs and the trowel. It was cold, a dull grey afternoon with the light already fading, and I can tell you I didn't feel like it in the least. And the ground was so hard, and there were so many roots, it was such ruddy physical hard work. Each of the two afternoons I really had to make myself keep going, and not give up before it got too dark to see the ground and I had to anyway.

And now here they are, all over the garden, and it was so worth gritting my teeth those two days and making the effort. And it struck me, when all the flowers started unfolding, how much it was like the experience that writing can sometimes be: the sheer grimness when what you want to say is too complex or subtle to come easily, and the need to keep going to find the way to say it, revise and rewrite, not give up. And then the joy when after all it all comes together and looks as though it sprouted all on its own, and wasn't difficult at all.

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