Sunday, June 20, 2010

plum lesson

I planted a tree this week and learned a lesson that I'd like to share about writing. You see, about six years ago I planted a plum tree. I could already imagine all the plum jam and plum wine that I'd be serving to my family and friends. Trouble was, the beautiful plum tree grew and grew and flowered beautifully each spring. But there was no fruit. So, taking some friendly advice, I went out and bought a second plum tree. Cute little thing that became littler that first winter when our new dog pretended he was a deer and chewed it down. But I was patient. (After all, I'm a writer, patience is one of our defining qualities.)

But it turns out that this cute, little, chewed up plum tree will never bear fruit in my yard. Why? It's the wrong kind of plum tree. It's a cherry plum and my other tree is a European plum and the two don't cross-pollinate. So now I've dug out the cherry plum and put in a European plum (same but different than my first one - a very important point) and now I am again filled with hope. Someday I will have two trees giving me fresh plums, cellars full of wine, and juicy jams.

The writing connection? Writing has to find the right publisher to produce. Sending your work to the wrong place will result in no book. I'm giving my little outcast plum tree to another gardener. May it happily produce plums in the right yard. Of course, all fruit trees need bees to do the cross-pollination work - in the same way, perhaps, that authors need agents - those hardworking networkers of the publishing world.

I better stop right now and get writing.

1 comment:

Barrie said...

Great analogy! Happy Father's Day to your family, Gabe. ;)