Thursday, June 2, 2011

Seeds (the long awaited sequel to Carrots)

What? You didn't know you were waiting? 

I meant to write this over a week ago, but Blogger and I haven't been getting along. Your responses to Carrots made me think how it's easier for us to see things that we're struggling with than it is to see our improvement. Life has so many ups and downs. A couple of weeks ago, my favorite editor sent me a rejection for a poem that I still really like. Today, I got one of these (hint: they don't reject people with their own envelopes) from her. I'll have a poem in next January's issue of Highlights High Five.

 This post is mostly about writing and gardening, but I bet you have other strengths as well. For randomness, I hadn't made anything out of balloons for a couple of years, but when I needed one (or three), I found I could still twist a mean octopus. What are your strengths or hobbies, and how do they contribute to your happiness and, if you're a writer, your writing?

I like to grow my own herbs, and the last few years, I've been planting cilantro/coriander and poppies from seeds I've saved from my plants. Every year I've done this, my plants have grown better and produced more seed, and I've learned things without reading about them first (shocking, I know).

  Cilantro/coriander attracts ladybugs.

The kind of poppy seed you use in breads has different colored flowers.
*Also, I should apply lotion before taking pics of my hands ;)

But most of mine have been purple.

As I've written, revised and critiqued for other people, I've learned things as well. For instance, an early draft might be derivative, and then with each consecutive draft, the writer imbues their story with more of their voice and whatever vision prompted them to start writing in the first place. Revising makes a good story better.

So, I'm saving seeds for stronger plants and revising for better stories. I can see improvement. Where do you see improvement? 

And if you'd like to be entered in a drawing for coriander or poppy seed, just let me know in the comments by next Thursday. They're organic, and you can use them in your kitchen, if you don't want to plant them.   


  1. YES. I want poppy seeds. I love poppies, and I've never been able to grow them.

  2. The octopi Rock-to-pi! (Okay, now you can see why I've never had a poem in Highlights!



  3. WOOHOO for publishing another poem! What are you up to now, like, five or six? That's awesome, Myrna! Awesome!

    I'd love to win some seeds! You wouldn't even have to mail them:)

  4. Wow! Another published poem! So excited for you.

    I especially like the third paragraph from the ending in this post. Thank you.

    And I'd love some seeds.

  5. Congrats on the poem publication!

    I think I'm a one-trick pony, with writing being my only claim to fame.

    Good news is that improvement seems to come with practice. And I get LOTS of that.


  6. Congrats on the poem. That's so cool! I have my own garden for the first time ever this year. Loving it. I wouldn't mind adding some poppies to the mix.

  7. Congrats on publishing another poem! So exciting!
    Did you make those balloon animals in the picture? So very cool.

  8. Yay!!! Congratulations on the poem :) And you do twist a mean octopus. Where did you pick up such a talent?

  9. Good work on the poem. Very exciting. And lemon basil. It is the BEST.

  10. Q, e-mail your address, and I'll send you some, whether you win the drawing or not.

    Thanks, Shelley!

    Krista, this will be my fifth. This poem sold about a year and a half ago, so Highlights will end up publishing it two years after they bought it.

    Thanks, Barbara. That paragraph was the main thought behind the post.

    Thanks, Sue! I don't believe that you're a one trick pony, but I do enjoy your writing.

    Thanks, Kayeleen! Good luck with your garden!

    Yes, Rorie, and thank you.

    Sarah, I learned how to make balloon animals from a book (popped lots of balloons). Then I saw a clown make an octopus at the fair several years ago, and when I tried it at home, it worked. Thanks!

    Thanks, Ms. Yingling! I've never grown lemon basil. I'll have to try it.

  11. Congrats on your poem acceptance, Myrna! That's wonderful. :)

    I agree, revision is so important. It took me three books to learn that, but I think I've learned it now.

    And I want to learn how to get my seeds out so I can grow more poppies. But I'd love some of your poppy seeds, if you're seriously giving them away!


  12. Amy, let your seed pods dry out. Then, when you break off the stem, it makes a hole in the bottom of the pod, and the seeds will pour out. Keep your plantings shallow, and bear in mind that the seedlings look more like pale, gangly weeds than something that will produce gorgeous flowers. At least mine do.

    And thank you!