|You're My Favorite
Author: M. George PM
The writing process. It starts with a seed.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 1,402 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Published: 04-18-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2662112
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Miss Jack: In my writing class, we were given the prompt: You plant a seed. What comes up?
You're My Favorite
(or, the Writing Process)
I planted a seed in the pot I used to keep my old change in. I cleaned the rust out with a scour pad and bought a bag of black, sticky soil that I pushed in with my thumbs. It was unexpected, this one, but that didn't matter—the best ones always were.
The seed was yellow, with a dark spot in the middle. Using a spoon, I dug a place for it in the dirt, and once it was safely nestled inside, I set the pot on the windowsill. "You're my favorite," I whispered. "You're going to be great, I can feel it."
Within the next few days, the roots were everywhere. They grew at such a rapid, unpredictable pace, I had difficulty finding enough pots to fit the messy web of white tendrils. I was excited. There was no doubt it would turn out amazing—look at all those roots! It would grow and grow until it became something glorious.
Unfortunately, for the next week, the plant stayed the same. No more roots grew. It sat, and when it was done sitting, it sat some more. In fact, after two weeks, I began cutting some of the roots in my frustration and throwing them away. I couldn't remember my former elation. Most of these extensions, which I had thought would eventually connect to the rest and combine to form a beautiful flower, were actually pointless and tying my seed down. Oh well. I still had a few roots that seemed to be doing well.
Another seven days I waited, and still, there was no sprout—not even the tiniest bit of green to show my seed was amounting to anything. I did, however, plant another seed—just a small one, and placed it on the windowsill next to the first.
And then, after an entire hour of glaring at the empty pot, willing my seed to grow with little success, I decided I was relying too much on the initial brilliance and magic of my seed. It had seemed so promising, growing out of control all on its own, but perhaps now I needed to buckle down and do some actual work. Using a gardening book, I angled the pot in just the right place to receive just the right amount of sun, I sprinkled the soil with fertilizer, I even used a measuring cup to water it.
Slowly, with bit by bit of diligent labor, a blade of green broke through into the air. It wasn't much, but it was something. I continued to work, but sometimes I grew bored, and planted more seeds along the windowsill. One of them had sprouted, even blossomed, but I didn't spare it too much of my attention—it was flimsy and though brightly colorful, not really anything I could something with.
I returned to my first seed.
Progress was slow. Too slow. Annoyed, I left the room. I left all my seeds, but especially that first, big one I had cared so much about. I was done caring. They could all rot and only my freedom would be left to burden me.
Only four days later, I returned, properly contrite. I missed my seeds, my plants, my babies. The six or so wayward pots, including the colorful blossom with no substance, had not changed. My first seed was wilting. Pushing up my sleeves, I got to work. For better or worse, I would see this seed to its full growth. I sweated, I toiled, I nearly lost my mind and almost set it on fire twice, but in three weeks, my seed had grown and flourished into a fully developed plant.
The problem was…. I didn't know what it was. Was it a tree…? Or maybe a flower. It was definitely huge. It took up an entire corner of the room. I wasn't sure if I felt like crying or whooping in triumph—it was a mess—truly a mutant hybrid of a plant with no definable name, but at least it was finished and it was mine.
Timidly, entirely unsure of what I was doing, I attempted to prune a few of the massive branches and vines. Some of it was ugly; big, gnarled black roots. I cut those out immediately. But here and there it had sprouted some truly beautiful flowers; tropical looking, lush and sweet to smell.
When I was done, it looked a little better, but not much. My plant, whatever it was, still needed help, but by this time I had an array of plants scattered about the room, and they were calling for my attention. I decided I liked the colorful blossom after all. With a bit of reworking, I thought it could really be something. What a delight. More than anything else I loved finding treasures where I didn't expect to find them.
For roughly half a month, I played with my blossom. It wasn't nearly as big as my first plant, but it was sure pretty, and I had grown quite fond of it. Ready for display, I took it out to the shop where people could admire and enjoy it, and even buy it if someone felt so inclined.
Back in the room with my plants, sitting on an open space, was a seed. It was shiny and blue. It arrived out of nowhere and it was easily the best seed I'd ever found. I could only imagine what it would become—my head filled with visions of magnificent, fruit-bearing plants that would make people weep with its beauty.
Quickly, practically shaking with excitement, I found a spare pot and planted my new seed. "You're my favorite," I whispered, "You're going to be so great."
It was then that I looked up and saw my first seed, just as I had left it, though its leaves were a bit dusty. My head tilted and I sighed. I remembered why I had loved it so much to begin with. "Hold on," I said.
When I came back, I had a few gardening friends in tow. I waved a disheartened hand toward my plant. "Well?" I asked.
"Hmm.." said one of my gardening friends.
"Very interesting…" said another.
And without saying much else, they whipped out their tools and set to work, clipping here and there, pruning this or that. "Wait," I would sometimes say, "Don't do that," and they would stop, because it was still my plant after all. A few times, I wanted to stop them again, because that branch had been so very, very hard to grow, but deep down, I knew it had to go. It was blocking one of my flowers.
They finished, I thanked them, and they left. My flower tree (that's what I had decided to call it) was actually looking pretty good. Gardeners can be pretty brutal to flowers that aren't there own, but since I wouldn't have been able to stomach doing it myself, it was a necessary procedure. I plucked a leaf, then rearranged a branch.
I was fiddling.
I fiddled quite a bit over the next month, unsure why I couldn't just leave it alone. Sometimes I just liked to look at it, revisiting my favorite flowers, or a particularly nice twist of a branch. But mostly I fiddled. I moved things. I moved them back. I put it in the sun, I left it in the dark. I tweaked, I pinched.
Enough, I told myself. What this bad boy needs is a name. I tried a few out. It had to fit my plant just right. I decided to keep it simple, to the point. Project Rose.
One month later, I received this letter in the mail:
Dear Mrs. Smith:
We have read and discussed your proposal of your novel Project Rose and regret to say we will not be making a publishing offer for it. This decision is based on our own judgment of its sales potential with us and the needs of our current list.
Thank you for thinking of (Patterson's) and best of luck placing your book with another publisher.
The Editorial Department