There’s a magic garden in my head. Something is growing. Worlds are being created. Lives. Turns of events. It’s amazing and astounding, real magic, not like a lady being sawed in half but something appearing, out of thin air!

For many years, I’ve had the germ of an idea for a novel, not much more than a concept really: a character who is this has that happen to him. The idea has lingered like a seed in a packet, inert, awaiting instructions, hardshelled and dry. It’s been in storage for a long time. I don’t know if you realize this but seeds have a shelf life.

So do people and writers and brains. Back when I turned 40, having been a journalist and small newspaper owner for a decade and having subsequently found a new love in writing humour, I thought, “Well, what are you going to do? Keep doing? Or do more?”

Out of that self-assessment I began contributing to radio, which was followed by the publication of my first collection of columns and now my second. Now I’m closing in on 50. In a recent interview to promote the latest book, I said something like, “Sure, I’d like to write a longer work but I have a job, kids in school, bills, a life. Maybe someday… For now, I’ll just stick to doing what I’ve been doing.”

Well, I’m running out of somedays, and there’s just no fun to be had in regret.

So a couple of weeks ago, I prepared a patch of soil in my head. I took that seed — a magic bean, as it turns out — and I tucked it gently in, doused it with a little water and bullshit. And, what do you know, something is sprouting! Something is happening, though I don’t know yet whether it’s a flower or a fruit or some kind of fungus.

Whatever’s at work, atoms and molecules of thought are coming together. A town that was just a town now has a name and a history. The main character that has lingered in that packet of seeds for years has had its DNA scrambled and is now a woman. There are beavers involved. A sinkhole has appeared. A sinkhole! Plots are taking root and sending out runners. Faces are unfolding as I drive my car or walk in the woods. Character names crop up from unexpected inspirations; yesterday, my cup of Meyer Lemon Tea begat Mayor Lemon — not pronounced the same but I love the playful scent of it!

I have yet to write a single word of a single chapter. I have to find the time, give something up, uproot existing plants to make way for this new harvest, and I won’t know until I get dirty whether I have the nurturing, the patience, the green thumb to produce anything more than some stunted stillborn thing, wan and unwanted. But right now, I am dazzled by the fertile magic of creation and possibility.



About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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26 Responses to Bloom!

  1. ksbeth says:

    hard to beat the excitement level of a lady being sawed in half, though with the hint of beavers, sinkholes and lemons – the potential possibilities are endless )

  2. El Guapo says:

    And after all those years of idling, the resulting bloom may be spectacular!

    (When you’re writing, do you yell to your characters “Dance! Dance for the puppetmaster!!!”. or is that just me?)

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Remains to be seen. It’s been years since I’ve written true fiction, and most of that is in a filing cabinet drawer where it will remain, unread, for eternity. So THAT bodes well!

  3. Bullshit is really the BEST mind fertilizer.

    The fun of beginning a book is having the blank canvas and minute details ready to invade any plot line. Happy brainstorming!

  4. Elyse says:

    Go for it!,,, I will hate myself for saying this, but stop blogging and wite your story. You will write a brilliant.novel and I, I will take over the blogosphere.

  5. Soooo… if I pour some water on my head…..?!?

    I hope you can find the time to put this blooming story down “on paper”. Time is often our biggest constraint and the instant results we get from blogging often win out over the tediousness of actually writing something publishable. Sounds like you are headed in the right direction though!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      The fact is a lot of what I post here also appears in print — a weekly newspaper column for which I’m paid… not much but it’s still a small income. I’m prepared to stop that for a while, and by extension the blogging, but first need to do some actual writing, see if this ‘s something I can really do. Thanks for the encouragement.

  6. It’s a great time in the writing of a novel — before any writing begins. All of the excitement and none of the problems (yet). Forge ahead, young man! Forge ahead!

  7. Laura Lynn says:

    I’m a fan already.

  8. NFred says:

    Every time you think you can’t or that you don’t have the time or convince yourself of some other lame excuse for NOT writing this epic sounding story, just remember what a wise man once said, “I’m running out of somedays, and there’s just no fun to be had in regret.”
    That was deep for 8am.
    Honestly, how could a story about a sinkhole and beavers and a mayor with a citrus fruit name not be the next great Canadian novel?
    Good Luck!

  9. As both a professional writer and gardener, I have slung a variety of shit over the years to various ends. Horseshit is not as chemically “hot” as bullshit, so your tomatoes and perennials will like it better. But bullshit is the perfect additive to make comedy writing bloom where horseshit will usually come to light later on and make you look like an ass.

    Chickenshit is dangerous either way. If you add it to a garden, everything burns in chemical hell and your vegetable garden stinks. If you experience it during writing, you never get around to that novel and that stinks, too.

    Neurologically speaking, though, if you talk about an idea too much, it can replicate the high of actually rendering it such that you feel like moving onto the next idea spike without actually producing anything. Which is about as useful as goose shit on a pump handle.

    But diving into full-on visualization and mental fantasy reenactment of the idea whenever possible brings it to fruition faster, easier, and with more intuitive detail than you ever thought possible–almost as if you’re channeling a full-blown story from universal consciousness straight into your lap top. No shit.

  10. nobsj says:

    I’d read your fungus novel

  11. pinklightsabre says:

    I really enjoyed this; I think it’s my favorite post of yours I’ve read this year. Not because I relate to a lot of it, but because I hear a lot more of “you” in the writing than your humorous pieces…which I also enjoy. It’s true as another person commented on here that the fun is in the wonder of the possibilities, before you get down to the toil and reality of making it work. I talk like I know what I’m talking about but I don’t, really. But I relate to the wonder of possibility and how good it feels, and that “someday” will never come unless you do it, today. Charmed to know you Ross, and enjoy your day. – Bill

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Thanks for this. It’s true, humour is a distancer, a guard really, that I learned to station before me years and years ago, no doubt for deep, psychological reasons. So, this probably is the more genuine “me,” though I’m not nearly as eloquent and thoughtful in 3D.

  12. Pingback: A year in books and stuff | Drinking Tips for Teens

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