Between growing, nurturing and pruning pomegranate, this plant and I have had a turbulent 15 months. At the height of spring, I held my breath when no signs of green appeared. All the rest of the garden was blooming. I am rarely hasty with my decisions to abandon the potential of success so I let it be.
I can finally report my pomegranate has rewarded me with leaf buds. The main stem will need to be cut back but, otherwise, the plant has shoots coming from all angles and levels along the stem. I can see the positive results of patience and restraint. Last month, I thought I had to give it up to the compost bin and allow it to nurture some other growth in the future. This plant has the stamina and determination to survive, despite my vacillation about its worth and place in my wild, deviant garden.
The pomegranate’s renewed vigor comes at the same time as the revision I am undertaking with Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls. If not for persistence and diligent care, neither Salsa nor the pomegranate would be here now.
Salsa has been like sculpting. Michaelangelo found his statues within the marble and released them. Within the volume of words, there is a story. I have cut and pruned, sliced and chiseled. The story has emerged from the shavings and chippings. These will need to be consigned to compost – there is nothing intrinsically wrong, they aren’t right for this book. I know the book is there and will be worth the effort – as long as I persist.
When writers talk about persistence (pestering if you are a recipient parent), the pursuit of publication and/or an agent is almost always the desired goal. We all want our books to be available but where is the reader in this pursuit? What does it mean to be a “successful” writer? I didn’t consider myself a writer at all until I had one completed manuscript. I dithered and dallied, flit and forgot. Success? Still a long way to go for that. And, that will ultimately depend entirely on readers.
Wait a Lonely Lifetime is in the publishing grindstone now. I have no idea where it is, what is being done to it, when I will see it again. I have a publication date a year in the future. Though I have worked in the publishing industry as a director of Honno and as an editor, the actual production of the book was of little interest to me.
As the editor of anthologies, I had some say in the cover design and there was the proofreading but book design, Advanced Information Sheets, distribution, reviews – the nitty-gritty, get-your-hands-dirty work was the responsibility of the production and marketing staff.
With Wait a Lonely Lifetime, I am at liberty to talk about the book, encourage interest, build a potential readership – as long as I don’t say too much or the wrong thing. I have also worked in marketing as a consultant, but when you’re promoting your own work, all the trade secrets make you feel you’re pushy and rude.
All I can say right now is, when my book is released, I hope readers like it as much I do. After all, I didn’t write this love story to be kept in the dark under a bucket. And, when it is released, the first reader to open the cover will be one of a very few who have ever seen this story. Today, I know of only two people who have read this book: myself and my editor, Lia Brown at Avalon Books.
Like my pomegranate, Wait a Lonely Lifetime has only a few admirers now, but when it is in its glory, who can tell what fruit it will bear?