One of the things I love about a vacation, especially -for me- the beach with its expanse of sand, ocean, and relaxed lifestyle of a visitor, is the change of perspective it gives. Fresh views of focus, you might say. Even when we love our place, our own home and garden, we can get bogged down in the responsibilities and the daily chores. A vacation to a new locale refreshes the vision of what you think is important, and what you appreciate. It unknots that jaded and worried small view that sometimes can creep up almost unaware.
Some fresh views ahead…
I had a chance to do some reading, something that I love, but which has taken a backseat for a couple years. I’m talking about that long leisurely type of reading, where you can sit in a seat with a cup of tea and savor the words, pictures and imaginary flights of fancy that a good book can offer. Never thought that would happen, but the internet sometimes has taken up information time, and given a bit of information overload to my brain. One book that was “beach reading” (has to be fairly simple and paperback), was a “Writer’s Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing”
What I’ve Been Reading (then buying)
It was a great little book for learning things like what a “nut graf” is (a ‘nutshell’ paragraph explaining the newsworthiness of the story). Now I may know what it is, but not sure how well I can write one. The how-to is broken down within the chapter, an example of why I found the book helpful. I plan to make a cheatsheet of the tips I learned on writing. Why ‘Magazine’ writing? Because blogging is along those lines. Usually short, readable posts are what people look for in this type of blog. Run-on sentences were always my shortfall, and I think it is time to become more focused and succinct. Try, anyway.
Another book I enjoyed is one I’ll give its own post sometime soon. Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes is by far one of the best garden books of its type that I have read in a long time. I’m going to buy it (this copy was from the library). I’ve read probably 15 garden books in the past couple months, conservatively speaking, and few are even worth my time to review. Although I enjoyed them and their pictures, there just wasn’t enough “substance” to recommend that people buy them. I have bought a few resource books lately, though. Helen Van Pelt Wilson was one of my favorite garden writers, and I went ahead and purchased some old used copies of her books from Amazon. Also, bought the American Horticultural A-Z, because I find I need a quick reference more than ever now. It used to be that reading books from the library would be enough, and I had a library shelf of my own at home, but now my mind is more like a sieve than the trivia trap that it had always been. The answer is to take notes and buy hardcopy books 😉
My Fresh Perspective
It consists more of taking time to work more with a mindset of “in the moment” concentration, rather than the multi-tasking I had developed for years. I want less, but more excellent, things in my life… not just in respect to “goods” but in respect to how I go about my life, and my plans. That takes time and it takes a sort of culling that editorializes ones thoughts and efforts. That is not to say becoming small or circumscribed in a parochial way, but in the focus that produces something of substance and excellence…
It is sort of ironic that my trip to a beach resort area that is anything but simple in reality (so busy with shops and eateries, blaring attractions of tall highrise condos, and nightlife) should produce this view in me. It is the vast simplicity, yet deep complexity of the natural features that inspires it. Whether in the mountains, or by the ocean, or on a mesa in the high desert… it doesn’t really matter.. it is all the magnificent brush of God’s hand upon us that brings us to this mindset.
The funny thing is we can find it anywhere, but we need to touch base with it in some earthy, gritty way; removed from man’s hand and marketing.
Which, of course, is something of what we find in our gardening… and now my thoughts have come full circle, and the vacation has done its job.
Tags: garden books, writing