Monday, May 17, 2010
Gardening Advice from Stephen King (sort of.)
This is just a glimpse of my carrot crop from last year. Just a bunch of stubby, sorry excuses for carrots. There were a couple big enough to eat, but the majority weren't worth the trouble digging up. They didn't even taste that good. Very disappointing, as you can only imagine. All season long, I watched watching those green tops of the carrots getting taller and taller, excited to have delicious, homegrown carrots once again. But, I was greedy. Or maybe too tender-hearted. Either way, I made one big gardening mistake: I didn't thin out my crop.
I just finished reading an awesome nonfiction book today: On Writing by Stephen King. In one part of the book, he gives the advice to "kill your darlings." Sounds violent, I know (I mean, it is a book by Stephen King, though I believe the quote is from someone else). The basis of the advice is that sometimes you have to get rid of characters and certain aspects of a book you're writing for the sake of the story. There may be some part of your story you just love or a character you think is perfect, but sometimes you just have to get rid of them to make the book work. Enter the gardening analogy. Sometimes, if you want a good garden and healthy harvest of vegetables, you just have to "kill your darlings".
If you planted your garden this spring, you've probably noticed all the cute little sprouts. Finally! Your seeds have germinated and they're becoming food! Little tufts of lettuce. Feathery wisps of carrot tops. Tiny patches of spinach. It's exciting, I know. But you're going to have to get rid of some of them. You have to. Do it. Pull the ones too close together. Leave the sturdiest, biggest ones to grow. Give them space to flourish. Kill some of your darling little sprouting plants. You won't feel a bit of remorse, I promise.