another new premise

What is the premise of your story? Describe it using the what-if formula by replacing the parentheses with details from your story: “What if a (flawed) (protagonist) (encountered some problem) and had to (overcome the flaw) to (solve the problem)?”

Steve Alcorn, Write Fiction Like a Pro 

What if a ( stubbornly but inconsistently persistent/ easily distracted/ overly pessimistic/ unrealistically optimistic/ only theoretical/ short-tempered/ self-doubting/ continually reinvented) (writer/ gardener/ bicyclist/ beekeeper someday/ city planner/ personified city/ nation as a whole)  (crashed in the stock market/ suffered colony collapse/ had her garden destroyed/ saw her family scatter/ lost her way/ lost her cool/ lost her marbles/ lost her car keys) and had to (get focused/ give up/ persist/ get busy/ speak out/ count to ten/ push ahead/ stick with what she’s got/ tighten her belt) in order to (save the day/ save the date/ balance the budget/ revive the local economy/ rebuild the garden walkway/ build the city on the hill/ feed the family/ finish up this blasted bottle-necking book)?

How’s that for a promising new premise?

By the way, have I ever mentioned that my house has no front door?

The door that looks like a front door, acts like a front door, is called the Front Door, is in fact on the back of the house.

It’s the door closest to the kitchen — furthest from the driveway — what in any reasonable house would be the Back Door.

Before I realized what was so nigglingly wrong with this house — i.e. that there was no real front to it, that it was always turning its back on you no matter how you circled to approach it — before I took steps to more clearly signal — by fiat if not in facto — which door was “Front Door” — people never knew where to come.  They’d knock at the laundry door or come to the sliding glass door downstairs instead.

Are we surprised that I live in a backward and resistant house?

Though it galls to admit, I must have chosen this unreasonable, refusal-to-face roundaboutedness because it felt so terribly familiar.

I always come in the back door.

I’m happiest living halfway up, halfway down the hill.

Coming at things indirectly is the way I feel most at home.

Maybe next week  I’ll get back to straightforward Small Town Revival – which series I am (usually, most days) burning to explore and for which I have posts sketched out from here to October.

This week however, I’m spending my mornings taking my first fearful-of-breaking-eggshells-abandoned-out-of-cowardice-plus-my-own-inability-to-structure-it novel through an online writing course focusing on Structuring the Long Form — which is embarrassing — true literature ought to just come on wings, not be written by numbers — but I’ve got to get this thing out of the nest and winging away from me.

While my afternoons are all pick-axing clay, toting rock and gravel, and dumping wheelbarrows — sweating it out while my lemon-scented Mexican marigolds and beautiful cabbage grow steadily, fearlessly, and unself-consciously (despite deer and moles).  And are beautiful as well as useful.

And the excavated, re-assembled garden path begins to reclaim its rightful road.

Whatever else it might be, this garden-making, garden-remaking is so wonderfully comforting that . . . if you don’t mind, I think I’ll get back to it now . . .


2 thoughts on “another new premise

  1. Hmm, that premise seems more familiar than new. Your garden causes me to think of community revival, if citizens had dirty fingernails and knew well the scent of fresh-turned dirt and fresh-pulled weeds, and bore the callouses of the pick-axe, we would have half a chance.

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