Tiny Seed

   Since this is my first post, I thought I’d write about something that I particularly captured my interest the other day in my "How to Get Published" class, when Mike Rush, a teacher and writer, was our guest speaker.
Mike read some inspiring passages from books like "Bird by Bird" and some of his own works that he's composed over the years. I intensively listened to Mike and his considerate advice to us.  Before class ended, he said that as a writer we must plant the seed first before we can bear any fruits. This analogy instantly reminded me of the Japanese Red Maple seeds I was given as a gift last Christmas to grow a bonsai tree. For those of you that don’t know what a bonsai tree is (or have never entered a Chinese restaurant), a bonsai tree is basically a tree that’s purposely dwarfed to develop in a pot. This task is as delicate and meticulous as it sounds, not to mention it takes years before the tree is fully developed. 
Regardless,  I was so excited at the thought of caring for a bonsai tree and being able to proudly boast to others whenever they gazed at the ruby leaves of my miniature tree that I had cared for it as a seedling. I imagined that I would grow attached to the tree as a sort of pet, and nurture it until I became an expert on the unique bonsai trees . So, I began the long process of keeping the seeds in the fridge (to act out the winter period as instructed) for 3 long months as I waited for some sign that I was properly taking care of this small tree. The day I started to see green sprouts in the soil I felt a burst of joy to see some actual progress to my patience.  
    After the seedlings were starting to sprout, the next step required them to be in 65 degree weather, properly shaded and watered of course. So I created the mini type green house my little darlings required but for one reason or another, a sprout would wither away making me go from the parent of 5 seedlings to 2. Eventually these sprouts became tall enough to be transferred to a terracotta pot which I carefully embedded them in like a mother tucking her children to bed.  But just as my confidence level was growing itself, one of the bonsai trees died until I was left with one delicate, yet defiant seedling in my lonely terracotta plant. All summer the tree seemed to thrive and I continually watered it, hoping that this tree would make my vision come to life.  Days passed, and I thought I was in the clear with this seedling that had surpassed its other siblings, after all it was selectively the strongest right?  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. This seed still needed much attention, and whether I watered the seedling too much or too little, or the temperatures were too harsh, my last remaining seed died and so my dream owning a fully grown bonsai tree withered away as well.

 The long months and patience of waiting for a sign from my bonsai tree, and thinking of the beauty it would eventually come to saddened me and made me wonder what I could have done differently, or if I simply didn’t have the green thumbs for something like a bonsai tree. I believe writing can evoke a lot of the same feelings I had. You can nurture a piece of work for months at a time, adding some details here, taking out a scene or a sentence that doesn’t flow with the work, tediously scrutinizing every word yet loving that you have created something yourself and watching it grow. Then, when you think your work is finished and you try to get it published, you get dun dun dun…rejected. Now while I’ve never submitted anything to be published, I imagine having your precious writing seed to be squandered after so many months of care and patience waiting for a reply is well, a devastating blow to the spirit. You may even take some time from writing for a while, or come back with an I can do it! attitude. I’m not sure how I’ll exactly take it when I get my first rejection, but it’s something I think every writer has to overcome in order to grow not only as a writer but as a person.     

 With each submission there is a chance of success, but publication should not be the primary force before writing. Writers can learn to shape and form their stories, until there work flourishes and grows, and perhaps even catch the eyes of some admirers. The journey is a long arduous process, but a necessary one to develop into a writer. And my bonsai tree is my long version analogy of what I believe Mike Rush was getting to.     
As for my bonsai tree I’m still a bit disappointed that I have no seedlings growing, but I know that if I want to try again then I must be prepared for the months- no years, of care and change how I cared for my last ones so that one day my vision of owning a bonsai tree will be true. For now, I think  I’ll work on nourishing the seedlings in my imagination. 
                                                                      R.I.P. little Bonsai

erica lewis

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