Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On Stories and Gardening

Contemporary writers have a unique problem.  They compete with the dead.

Ironically, they are also in conversation with the dead.

Many writers have been nourished by old, sometimes ancient, writing. In the mix of this nutrient rich soil, seeds of  stories are born anew. 

A smart-talking professor once told me that all the stories that could be written have already been written.  It kind of defeats a person to hear this when they're on the verge of graduation and thinking about making their living as a writer.   I wish I had been there to tell my younger self that writing is like gardening. Lots of people do it but it doesn't mean you can't make a lovely little plot for yourself. 

   Perhaps stories are like marigolds.  All the marigolds that will ever bloom are already planted, because the seeds that carry them to the next generation live within.  They only need to be sown, to land in the soil, to have water and light and air.          

I have not written a book, yet.  But I have a friend.  And her book is wonderful.  Today I want to give a little light, soil, water and air to a story that I love.

Brave Donatella and the Jasmine Thief is a fairy tale with all the goods: it delivers a compelling and sweet love story while engrossing the reader in an intriguing, suspenseful action/adventure tale that involves betrayal.

If you love Italy and all things Italian, you'll love this story. If you love plants and the story of how they came to be spread throughout the world, you'll be delighted.  If you admire beautiful art and deliciously crafted story lines, you'll not be disappointed.
By the way, children love it.  My son was captivated and entertained by the illustrations and memorable characters.  Particularly, he was a tiny bit scared of the powerful historical figure, Duke Cosimo De Medici.
But being a little scared is what makes reading fun.  Especially when the story leaves us uplifted and relieved, appreciating all the good things that come out of the bad.  

In this story, the Italian duke is a vain and villanous man with a wickedly sharp face who would imprison or kill anyone who stole plants from his garden.  Particularly, he would kill anyone who dared to steal Jasmine.  When a young man who is apprenticed to work in the garden steals a sprig to give to his true love, the beautiful Donatella, the two must run away in order to protect his life. 

In protecting her handsome love's life, Brave Donatella gives a gift to the world...selling the propagated stems of stolen Jasmine to live happily ever after.    


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