This weeding thing is related to another mind-set I've had - that I like the beginnings of things but rarely finish them. That is absolutely not true of me any more. I finished the Dublin Marathon 9 years ago - hmmm...the date was the 27th I think of this month. I have finished three novels. Beginnings, middles, and ends. I have had successful gardens, though not this year, and I've finished lots and lots of other things too. I've got an old dog! I never thought that would happen but it has. I've lived in a house longer than I thought possible, and longer than I've lived anywhere. My guy and I have been together, as of this year, longer than any other relationship with a guy-type that I've had.
Back to weeding. I hate weeding in my garden and I hate weeding in my writing. Or I did. Now I'm changing, as I said. (am I stressing that too much do you think? does it mean I doth protest too vociferously? don't you love that word?) Even more than weeding, I have challenges with thinning - as in thinning out this row of carrots. A couple of years ago I tricked my gardening self by buying seed tapes of carrots - voila! Pre-thinned. It worked a treat. But I can't do that with my writing. I can't imagine what the equivalent of seed tapes for writing would be. I suppose an editor that looked at your messy manuscript every day and just weeded out all the little shoots that weren't going to go anywhere, or were but had to be cut back because EVERY idea can't be in one book.
That is the problem, right there! Why can't every idea be in the book? Well, because it wouldn't be a story, it would be an encyclopaedia or a rainy day book or a pillow book or a terrible Roman a clef but it wouldn't be a real novel.
And it goes to the same part of my heart that asks me - why can't I go down every road? Why can't I have every possible job that I want? Why can't I live everywhere but still have best friends, old dogs, long-term relationships and so forth?
I'm an experience slut. Yep. I am. And in some essential way that is why I like writing. I can pretend that I'm every character with zillions of different jobs and husbands and dogs and boobs and problems and babies and, well, experiences.
Back to weeding - I used to not be a good weeder - see - that right there is bull-pucky. Of course, I was a good enough weeder - there isn't anything hard about it. It's like my first husband used to say "oh honey, you make the best popcorn!" Can you see anything wrong with that statement? Of course you can but it sucked me in for awhile. So - I could weed - I just didn't like it. I would say that I couldn't tell the weeds from the perennials. Why shouldn't weeds live? What makes them less lovely than the flowers? But now, I'm liking it. I'm liking thinning and weeding and supplementing the earth with lovely compost and seeing the crop through to harvest.
Every day that I revise (and that is most days of the week including holidays) I'm enjoying the discipline. The more I weed and thin, the more I want to do. I'll have a bloody poem soon!
So dear readers, if you have some mind-set that you believe about yourself (I'm no good at plots and structure - I hate dialogue - themes evade me) dig into those weedy mental roots and get them outta there!
Here is a glorious wild weed photo for you all.