by Bryan Russell
The Book Gardener
It was time for the spring planting and she took the ideas out in a pail. She grunted a little under the weight. She was no longer young in years, but she liked hefting the spring pail, feeling the pull on her muscles. Her body titled to the left as she slid along. She had developed a little off-center walk just for this.
She planted the romances just outside the door, her little spade digging heart-shaped holes. She planted for cozy mysteries under the eaves, and then a little epic fantasy under the big oaks. She sprinkled a few dystopian ideas along the front ditch. No digging, they always grew like weeds.
She dug a deep hole for horror under the old dead pine, heaping heavy rocks on top. Memoirs were laid out under the weeping willow, watered with a few excess tears.
Military history, as always, along the hedgerows, some economics and finance dotted along the driveway with a little self-help just for colour.
Soon all the ideas were gone and the pail was empty. She patted her hands, nodding to herself. Yes, yes, all good.
The rains came and she watched out her window.
The sun shone, and the ideas grew and grew. She puttered about, a bit of fertilizer here and there. She liked to pat the earth, to tinker. And pruning, of course, once they really started to grow.
The first up was a cozy, its pages flapping in the wind. She pulled it up (cozies always came out easy) and had it with a bit of afternoon tea on the porch.
Others started blooming, fluttering open. Good spines this year. The romances needed a little salt, a dash of pepper, but the literaries were sweetly elusive.
She set up a little stand on the road. People would pull over, stop, taste. A few dollars here, a few there. Whatever she didn’t sell would go onto the canning shelves for another day.
Happy customers, always marveling. Caressing the bindings, smelling the ink.
“Where do you get your ideas?” they would say.
“Oh, I grow them right here.”
“Oh, yes, yes. They always turn up as long as the soil is good and we get a little sun and rain.”