Monday, May 08, 2006

With sunshine comes responsibility...


Witness why I love winter. Because in the winter, there are no weeds. Someone once said, "Make no mistake, the weeds will win. Nature always bats last." Here it seems, in my "garden," nature is the ONLY batter. I haven't pulled a single weed this year, and it is a sad sight out there. We shouldn't have bought a house with so large a yard, especially one so long neglected -- we had to start from scratch with it, and we DID start, but... the ground here is a pit of prehistoric rocks. Truly. We're in the mighty Columbia River floodplain and digging even a flower bed is an arduous task. I want the fun parts of gardening, not the wrist-breaking work, and so, behold... weeds, with the occasional hardy tulip fighting its way to air. I like to pretend an evil faerie has put a spell over the land. It sounds more romantic that way.

I just can't be bothered with it. I'm clearly too busy blogging to try to garden - ha! Priorities! Busy with other things, too: Aside from writing, I've been working on a new Laini's Ladies line, this one is called "the Bohemian Collection" and will be available at the end of summer. And, one day after writing about getting my first illustration assignment ever, from Ladybug Magazine, I got a call from the art director and accepted another assignment. It will be my 10th or 11th, I think. You can see more of them here. Last fall I got a call from her and had to turn down work for the first time in my career, because I was trying to finish my book -- It was terrfiying. Ask any freelancer, even one who's been successfully working for years, and they'll tell you the terror of the work drying up just beyond the next horizon. At the SCBWI conference last week I talked to G Brian Karas about it, and though he's illustrated over 80 books (wow!), he still feels that fear. It's powerful. And to turn down the same art director twice in a row is unthinkable, so I accepted, and it's a fun assignment like they always are. So I'm in an art cocoon, and am glad to see the rain return and muffle the plaintive voices of rosebushes crying out, "Help us! We're choking!" (Ooh, that gave me a horrible twinge of guilt, writing that! I'm forever anthropomorphizing things, even furniture, and almost convincing myself it's sentient and suffering. We name our furniture, too. We have a table named Leonard Nimoy, just for the sheer joy of saying, "Your keys are on Leonard Nimoy," or "Can you please dust Leonard Nimoy?")

Anyway, while you're out coddling your garden and making lovely things grow, I will continue in my evil-faerie fantasy, and maybe even put some magic spells on the house to protect it from the encroaching weeds. Happy monday, all!

16 comments:

andrea said...

You just voiced my gardening woes. Our lot is 1/3 acre and we are on the Fraser River floodplain so it's the same thing with the soil. We are actually looking for a hillside house with a view instead of a garden now after almost 8 years of half-assed garden maintenance. I can handle some container gardening but I have too much else going on to make my garden a priority. *sigh*

Work drying up just beyond the horizon is my current terror so enjoy your cocoon! I just did a quick income/output calculation and I'm ahead of the game so far this year, but things don't look too promising over the summer. Sometimes I just want the dignity of a regular paycheque...

Thanks a lot for depressing me, Laini! :)

la vie en rose said...

well i'm not a gardner and probably never will be so you don't have to worry about me turning my nose up at you. and how can we not love a woman who names her table leonard nemoy. you are too cool and quirky!

Amber said...

I have a freind who had ayard like that, and she tossed down a couple big bags of wild flowers all over...It looked amazing! Worked great. They all grew up through the grasses.

I love to hear about your work. It is another world to me. So neat.

:)

deirdre said...

I feel so much better about my sadly neglected garden. We also have soil from hell. Did I call it soil? Well, that would imply something other than weeds might grow in it. It's rock hard adobe filled with millions of rocks. And oh, the obsessive joy of blogging! I have to go back to work tomorrow after this long and luxurious vacation at home. My evenings are going to take a new shape to accomodate the reading and writing of blogs. :) Laini, I love your artwork. It's what led me here in the first place. I know there's a children's book waiting for you to give it life.

tinker said...

Of course - an evil fairy-spell! I knew there was a reason the weeds and the ivy were winning this year (I'm starting to have nightmares about the ivy creeping in through the windowcracks and winding its way around me - wait! what was that slithering soun...mmph?!!!!!!!!!!!
:>)

Jeremy said...

Nice to see someone say that gardening is not the utter delight that they would have you believe on the television. I like that wild flowers idea. Our garden is a similar, but most of the plants are feral and sting. Our neat and tidy neighbour looks on in horror as our weeds flourish. Well, ours is much better for the wildlife (I'm sure it would be popular with the fairies, even malevolent ones)
and has the additional benefit of zero maintenance. I never could understand people thinking that their plans for their little plot could somehow be better that natures. I always get upset when I see a perfectly good piece of 'wasteland' being built upon, when it would be much better to do away with manicured parks and rows of finicky flower beds. Sorry, I'm starting to rant.

The illustrations look great. I'm sure there is no way that the work will not dry up, but a slight nagging doubt about whether it will probably just helps to give them the edge.

Shannon (Sentimental) said...

I agree that is the absolute worst part of gardening. Keeping it looking the way you want.

bb said...

(Reaction at looking at your illustrations for the first time) *beautiful*breathtaking*bonita*
(okay, cheating a little on the last word, but i wanted a full compliment of 'b' words). I love them!

And who could resist reading the enchanting ramblings of a woman who names her table Leonard Nimoy? Precious!

Alexandra S said...

My backyard looks like marshlands without the swamp. Hey, maybe instead of a hot tub back there I should put in a swamp and then get a couple of alligators and charge people for an authentic Bayou experience right in the heart of Portland? Gumbo, cajun shrimp, I think I have a new career! Now get to work in your yard, and while you are at it, dig up that pretty white flowering tree by yoru garage and plant it over at my place. I look forward to seeing it there when I get home later today. Thank you in advance Fatty.

Anonymous said...

It's funny-- I took enormous comfort from the phrase "Nature bats last" as the human effect on the planet (i.e. global warming etc.) is never far from my thoughts and I LOVE the idea that after our last up at bat Nature's gonna slam our sorry asses out to the bleachers and beyond.

~bluepoppy

Brandi said...

Congratulations on your new opportunities! That is just wonderful!

Sorry to hear you have a bunch of weeds out there!

Cant wait to see your new ladies!

Brandi

Roz Foster said...

Think of how those weeds adore you for letting them live! Besides, I bet your garden has a lush, green, natural aesthetic to it, rather than being manicured, contained and (to me) antiseptic, like one of those yards in Home and Garden.

Congrats on the Ladybug job!

Mardougrrl said...

I think this is why I am scared of buying an actual house...landscaping! Although my parents adore it, so who knows?

I am SOOO excited about the "Bohemian" line! The name thrills me.

Coming here makes me so happy.

Sarah e.Smith said...

I can't wait to see your Bohemian line :) I have been looking forward to Spring this year becuase my garden project of 2 years has finally been completed. I'll be posting about it hopefully tomorrow. I know the feeling about weeds though...that is what took me so long...two years to weed out my garden...not fun!

Living Part Deux said...

I LOVE creating gardens, but turn around once, and tiny uninvited vines and shoots are popping up. Turn around twice and it has reverted to its original wild state. And there, poking the very top of its beautiful head above the weeds is the nymph atop the stone birdbath that was supposed to dominate the garden. Dominate? Ha! No one and nothing ever really dominates a garden!

I turned down a freelance job last week and almost had heart palpitations, which prompted me to accept one this week that doesn't make my heart beat with glee - but fear is a great motivator!

Anonymous said...

i love