Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The honeysuckle amongst the lilacs



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When we first bought the property that we built our house on, it was part of an open field of alfalfa. We blew our wad on the property and had to save for another two years before we could afford to build. Believe me, I chafed. I wanted out of our living situation at that time so badly I could taste it.

The land lay fallow, except for two edges. The first year we had the property, we decided to plant a hedge. We figured we might as well get a couple years' head start on the hedge while we were saving our pennies to build our house.

We obtained trees/bushes from the Soil and Water Conservation Department of Olmsted County. Tiny twigs, wrapped 25 to the bundle, bare root. Red-twig dogwood (the deer love to eat this one) techny arborvitae (my husband likes these, though they are not my favorite) and fifty old fashioned lilac bushes. Or at least we thought we got 50 lilac bushes. What we did get was 49 lilac bushes and one honeysuckle bush. My husband wants to yank it out and plant another lilac in its place, but I love the whimsy of the oddball.

What does this have to do with writing?

I was thinking of all the mss editors and agents see, hundreds, even thousands of stories, all precious to the authors who have submitted them, each one representing the hopes and dreams of a writer, each one representing hours of hard work, prayer, sacrifice.

To the editors and agents it must seem like and endless stream of lilacs flowing by, pretty, fragrant, even, but blending into one another. I think those agents and editors are looking for a honeysuckle amongst the lilacs. Something that makes your work stand out. An unusual setting, fresh occupation for a main character, a plot twist they hadn't anticipated. And always, the best writing you can do.

May all your manuscripts be honeysuckles. :)

5 comments:

  1. Here's to honeysuckles! Or Honey Dos, as the case may be =P

    PS. Love your neighborhood! If only we had a hedge....

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  2. What a wonderful story, Erica. I wanna be an oddball...I mean, a honeysuckle. :)

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  3. Love your story. The lilacs are beautiful, but the honeysuckle does give it a nice contrast--that nose-tickling smell and disobedient way of growing. How clever of you to make the analogy to writing.
    I'm a bit of a rebel with my keyboard and story ideas, so here's to you sweet, wild honeysuckle!

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  4. My long, narrow lot is lined with fences that are covered with honeysuckle. I can smell it as soon as I get out of the car in the evenings--it's a smell of coming home.

    Now when I smell that and have that comforting sensation, I can think about how I want that to be the feeling my readers have when the open one of my books!

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  5. I love the whimsey of your image. Mmmm smell that honeysuckle.

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