Thursday, June 24, 2010

The World in Miniature: The Book Gardener

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.”

“Right here?”

“Oh, yes, yes. They always turn up as long as the soil is good and we get a little sun and rain.”


JE said...

This is so good, Bryan! Paints the perfect little picture and made me smile all the way through!


PS. I want a garden like that!

Matthew MacNish said...

Wonderful. Love the idea of dystopians growing like weeds!

Stephanie Lorée said...

Really enjoyed this one, Bryan. Perhaps as a writer I'm a bit biased, but I think this may be my favorite of yours thus far.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

I love this. Water away!! Nice imagery, too.

K. A. Jordan said...

Cool imagry!

Gale Haut said...

You're a good writer. Have anything published?

Unknown said...

What a sweet story. It made me happy.

Mira said...

This is sweet. A different tone for you. Your love of books comes through clearly. :)

In fact, I liked it so much, I wished I'd written it first! :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

This is your most light-hearted one yet! I love it. The care and feeding of ideas, right at home. Simply lovely. :)

p.s. when can I drive by?

Anonymous said...


But now I want to go putter in an idea garden...

Bryan Russell said...

Thanks, everyone!

I figured it was time for one that didn't actively try to squash the reader's heart. :)

Bryan Russell said...


Thanks for the compliment. And yes, I've had short fiction, articles, interviews, etc., published. Most of my time is spent on my novels, though, and I'm currently working with an agent on revision. Hopefully the big P day will come not too far into the future. My fingers, thumbs, toes and possibly a few vertebrae are all crossed.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is pretty and funny. Loved the imagery. Wish I had a garden like that.

Deb Salisbury, Magic Seeker and Mantua-Maker said...

I love this story. Well done!

Love the new background, too. It definitely suits this blog.

Tahereh said...

OH INK. this was beyond beautiful. so lovely. so very, very lovely. i am so touched.

you are so monumentally talented.

i adore this piece. absolutely adore it.

Bryan Russell said...

Thanks, Deb! And glad you like the new design. I think I'm done tinkering for awhile... maybe. :)