It came as no surprise last week when, after we asked Red Roomers to blog about their favorite gardens, that we were presented with beautiful photos of flowering plants, ornamental hedges, and spreading trees. From sentimental memories of vegetable gardens tended in childhood to once-in-a-lifetime visits to exotic public monuments, Red Room loves its places created either to give a controlled illusion of nature or to grow fresh, delicious, healthy food.
In the email setting out this topic, I included a Gertrude Stein quote: "A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then, after all, little by little, it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables." In her post titled "A Garden Underground," member Barbara A. Audet seemed to agree, saying about her own vegetable patch, "Each swollen, unpicked squash was a damnation of my insolence, each bending vine of bleeding tomatoes, cherry orbs with seeds at ready, so ready they burst the seam of the fruit, a wound that cut the skin and my eyes."
Three blog posts stood out this week:
In "I Once Had a Garden," member Wendy Manning describes how the garden her husband first dug for her twenty-two years ago has become a metaphor and scrapbook of her marriage and family.
A small-town college professor's love for a garden, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and a young lady mix delightfully in author Fran Moreland Johns's short story "And give her what she asketh..."
From city to country to suburb, member Madeline MacGregor has always had a garden. She vividly describes each one, and how it fit into her life at the time, in her entry "Earthly, earthly delights: Diary of a Dirty Girl."
These bloggers will receive books by Red Room authors. Julie Buxbaum's newest novel is After You, about a traumatized woman who turns to the classic book The Secret Garden for comfort. Read Julie's charming Red Room original essay about visiting the real Secret Garden. G. Davis Jandrey's A Garden of Aloes is about people living on the edge and doing their best in a seedy Tucson motor court. When Janet Lembke moved into an urban Virginia home, she had to adapt a lifetime of rural gardening habits, and recounts what she learned in From Grass to Gardens: How to Reap Bounty from a Small Yard.
You can see all of the favorite garden blog entries listed here. I hope you'll read several and comment on a few of your favorites.
We're still humming from the response to our recent short story contest. You can read the wrap-up posts here and here. We'll be announcing the winners this week. In the meantime, Red Room Editor-in-Residence Alan Rinzler has posted a useful guide for writers hoping to break into the short story market.
All of Red Room's past blog topics are listed here,; I hope you'll suggest a few more in the comments. Thanks as always for blogging!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room