Magic of the Everyday, Quote of the Week

Quote of the Week

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is by no means a waste of time.
—J. Lubbock

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.—Anais Nin

Yes, this isn’t a single a quote, but two different ones. Still, seeing as how the “Quote of the Week” has been AWOL for a bit, I figured I could use a bit more oomph in this post, and that no one would mind. (If you do mind, well, just read one quote this week and one next week.)

I’m not sure what the weather is like where you are, but here, just now, it’s stunning. The sky is a soft shell blue arc, perfectly cloudless. A soft breeze ruffles the bud-spiked branches of the trees. The temperature requires warm-weather clothes even for me, a confirmed cold-blooded lizard clinging stubbornly to her heater-rock whenever possible. On this gorgeous day, and with more such to come in the forecast, I had to go buy flowers.

Remember that I’m a gardener at heart; I’m really, really happy when there’s dirt ingrained in my skin and lodged under my nails. Turning compost is my dream. (Early in our marriage, hubby asked what I wanted for my autumn birthday. No diamonds or jewels here–I wanted a load of horse manure to keep the compost pile steaming, hot and active all winter long. He shook his head in wonder, but I got my load of sh*t.) And for the entire last year, I’ve had no planters full of herbs and flowers. Today, I rectified that.


Was this a waste of my writing time, then? Well, some may think so, but not me. For like Anais Nin so aptly said, ideas come “in the midst of living.” As I pondered colors and scents, placement, heights and names of herb varieties, my subconscious was grabbing ideas left and right and tucking them away for later use: the giddy joy of all the early gardeners, buying plants in April even though we know it’s too early; my firm conviction that this year the last hard frost is over and the plants will survive a month ‘too soon’ outdoors; the feel (and sound!) of the root balls crumbling or shredding, breaking apart in my hands; the smells of crushed mint, and rosemary, and chives. It’ll come out in some story, some time.

Over the years I’ve spent hours watching animals do everyday things. Right now, I’m writing a YA piece that includes a dragon, and I’m using some of the things I’ve observed cats doing in my dragon’s actions. Did I intend that when I watched cats over the years? Of course not. I was just relaxing, doing something I enjoyed. And as it turns out, it wasn’t a waste of time at all.

2 thoughts on “Quote of the Week”

  1. So glad to read this. Thanks! I’ve been working in the yard, too, and thinking to myself that I cannot write well if I’m not living well – that is, doing the things that are important and that revitalize. Like gardening. Because, yes, I felt guilty about possibly “wasting” time not writing. Bought violas and rose bushes, built some raised beds, and finally sowed some seeds (sooooo late, I know). Glad to hear you got your hands in the dirt (it’s where the best ideas come from)! Actually, yes, it is. When grounded and the mind is clear, that’s when the best thoughts and insights surface. Enjoy Spring. Enjoy writing. Enjoy being (in the garden).
    – Kathrin

    1. I agree–the best thoughts come when your hands are dirty and your heart is happy and whole. Glad to hear you got your raised beds made, and the seeds sowed (better late than never!). I planted violas, too–they look so cheerful. They’re my cheerleading squad, smiling at me when I kick writing butt, consoling me when the writing kicks mine. Today, writing and I are working ourselves into a fine draw. But the day ain’t done yet, and I’m aiming to win!

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