How Flowers, A Camera, and The Girls Play Together

This morning I awakened feeling crazy hunger to create, which often happens to me on days like this. It’s cool, with a sweet little breeze carrying autumn. It’s overcast, which is the most important thing.  In a place with so much sunlight, cloudy days are a blessing, quieter somehow, thoughtful.  I walked the dog and found words rolling up, and a dozen plot tangles suddenly and easily resolving themselves.  When I got home, I had to check the corn and beans in the garden. It has not been a great vegetable year, but the flowers are lovely.   In one patch, the lavender is in wild bloom (and I neglected to label which lavender plants I have out there, so I have to remember that the border group blooms late, while the others bloom earlier).

Anyway, somewhere in early summer I saw a tiny patch of lavender and small shell-pink roses growing together, so I copied it, as all gardeners do.  All summer, I probably had this moment in mind, this bottle and the minute bouquet of lavender and the fairy pink rose, sitting in a window with quiet light behind.  To get this particular shot, the very one, the only one, I had to shoot 66 photos.  The light is so low the flash kept going off, and at one point, I pulled a chair over to shoot it from above.  The bottle was sitting next to an empty blue wine bottle from a local winery, which I thought I would love and didn’t.

But finally, I headed up stairs to edit the shoot.  Over and over, I tried adjusting light, crops, tones, details. Some of them are lovely, and I might print a trio to put side by side in a frame.  This one, however, didn’t need anything much.  I tweaked the light the teeniest bit, but that’s it.  Just as it was, it was fine.

As I printed it, I realized that Ruby–one of the main characters in the MIP– who is mourning a lost love and wishing for something else, heads out to the lavender fields and finds the little roses.  She cuts them and arranges them in tiny bottles for her friends.

All the details we write come from within us somewhere, memories and images, colors and scents and conversational tics. It’s also true that we weave the everyday into the pages, so much so that when I go back to read my earlier books, I’m overwhelmed by the taste of those particular months I was writing. Some are impossible to read for this reason, but maybe when I’m very old, I’ll like going back and living in them, thinking and remembering.

Or not.

A good lesson for me this morning.  I’ve been so rigidly on producing pages, producing pages, that I forgot this is how I work.  I walk around. I take a picture.  I write a blog, and the book blooms behind me, full and heavily scented.

Do you ever find problems solve themselves when you look away?  Or a worry dissolves if you stop twisting it and twisting it? 

5 thoughts on “How Flowers, A Camera, and The Girls Play Together

  1. I love how your flowers will fit into the story you are writing. Today I found the prettiest wildflowers near our pond. I single layer of gorgeous purple, fringe petals with a center of yellow fringe. A sprig of them is now sitting on my kitchen counter, in an empty hard cider bottle with a wonderful blue and white label.

    Often I tell myself that I need to work out a sticky plot point before I walk my dog. Even though it seems like I’m not concentrating on the problem it miraculously works itself out when I start writing.

  2. Yes, the dog walks are miraculous.

  3. Kimberly

    Ah…you are proving the recent research on creative thinking. There have actually been studies that show that TRYING to be creative (brainstorming, deliberately trying to think through a problem) actually hinders the mind’s ability to solve the problem. But, by doing things which stimulate the part of our brain that does creative thinking (with things like hands on art – photography for example)we keep that part of our mind “in shape.” So, later, when we are relaxed and the left side of our brain is bored into slumber – walking, sleeping, taking a shower….voila, the creative side solves the problem and “ping” you get your plot resolutions.

    LOL…sorry for the science lesson. Creative thinking is an interest of mine and I’ve been studying it.

  4. Barbara

    Don’t apologize! That is a great lesson.

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