Wednesday, January 19, 2022


When I was a kid, we had a few Chinese/Japanese lantern bushes lining the path along the side of the house. I loved how the puffy green seed pods turned orange in the fall and looked like glowing lanterns. Every few years, I think about getting one of these plants for my current house, but I can never find one in a local greenhouse. 

Lacking an established plant, I've tried starting them from seed. Usually, I can get most any variety of seed to sprout. It might not do too much after that, but I've at least seen it poke out its tiny green head. But these lantern seeds are stub-born. I've tried them in the ground, in pots, in wet paper towels, and...nothing. (I'm beginning to understand why greenhouses don't carry them.)

Because 2022 is my year to grow, I'm trying again. I found new instructions that suggested refrigerating the seeds for 6 weeks. I did that, and on January 1st I planted them in a little pot. Here's what it looks like:

Not very inspiring! But it reminds me that before growth happens, germination must occur. And that part of the process can require patience and persistence. Sometimes, we have to start over and over again before we make any progress at all. And that's just the way things are, in seeds, in writing, in life.

Send my seeds some good growing vibes, and hopefully I'll have some sprout pictures to share one of these days!


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Writer Word of the Year 2022

Happy New Year! I hope you've all made it to the first Wednesday in January in good shape and are getting a feel for what you might want to accomplish this year. (Or maybe you don't want to accomplish anything other than just living your life, and believe me, no judgment here.)

My word for 2021 was Discipline, and as I've admitted, it was not a good choice. Patience would have been better. Or acceptance. Grace. I thought discipline might motivate me, but it turns out I needed a different kind of energy. Less taskmaster, more cloud-gazer.

This year's word, Grow, popped into my head a month or so ago, and it clicked immediately. (To my surprise and delight, my fresh-cut Christmas tree seemed to confirm the choice by unfurling soft baby needles over the past few weeks.) 

I've chosen grow for a few reasons. First of all, I really like to grow things. I love seeds that sprout in a paper cup and plants that tendril gently from their pots. I love the crawl of cacti and the sprint of mint. I love moss and avocado pits and Tillandsia air plants.

Growth can be surprising and unpredictable. Those are good things for writers, especially regarding first drafts, one of which I will be working on this year. Growth can mean getting better at doing something or getting better at not doing something. Growth can be as tiny as an alpine flower or as massive as a coastal redwood. Growth is potential realized.  

Last year at Christmas, my family and I spent some (Covid-safe) time in Arizona. Good friends sent us home with oranges from their tree, and I planted a few of the seeds on New Year's Day 2021. Here's what my little orange grove looks like today. Not astounding growth, but slow and steady. Just like me.

I hope you'll stop by often to see what's growing. Best wishes for health and happiness in the coming year!