We bought a Christmas tree this past weekend. It was a family affair with three generations of tree-cutters slopping through wet grass to find the perfect pines for our respective houses. Everyone, from one year old baby Liza up to Grandpa, had a different opinion on what makes a pretty tree.
Some wanted teeny-meeny saplings that barely reached their knees–and at four, seven and ten, those are some pretty short knees. Still others wanted pines that soared so high the tops seemed to disappear into the clouds.
Long needles, short needles, painted, pure, Charlie Brownishly skinny, trimmed to conical perfection or naturally full?
So many trees. So many choices.
Tree hunting is a lot like book buying.
What tickles one person’s tweeter may totally turn off another reader. That’s why there are so many different genres and sub genres. It’s why one vampire book becomes a beloved read while another sits on the shelf untouched. It’s why, in another home, the exact opposite is true.
One thing I did notice during our commune with nature: the trees didn’t care. They didn’t care if someone walked by them and made a beeline for another pine. Instead, they remained steadfast. The soaked up the moisture and the sun’s rays oblivious to the hubbub around them. In the end, they will be something.
Pinecones to repopulate a forest. Shade for new seedlings. A nesting ground for birds. Food for squirrels. Shelter for deer. A Christmas tree to the right family at the right time or firewood or mulch as aging branches die and decompose.
There’s a lesson here for aspiring writers. Well, maybe two.
- Write the story you need to tell. Some people may love it. Some may hate it. It may be a bestseller or a favorite niche story that quietly gets passed around by a select few. Regardless of what ultimately happens to it, it will serve a purpose. Really and truly, because…
- …not every story will grace the great room…er, become the book of the season. In fact, some may get self-pubbed or never get published at all. Yet we learn from every story we pen. These practice stories help us hone our skills and nurture the seeds of our creativity.
Nature does not waste. Nor does she regret. She simply perseveres.
And that, my writer friends, is what I wish for you this upcoming holiday season. Be the tree!