A few weekends back, I zoomed into an all-day writing workshop. One of the speakers was author Jeff Elkins.
Elkins spoke at length about how we can develop and deepen our characters through the use of dialogue. As soon as he brought up what he called the character daisy, I was hooked (anything that relates gardening or food to writing gets my immediate and full attention).
Flowers grow in a predictable order: roots, stems and blooms. Jeff believes that order is reflected in the way we develop as individuals too. We also start off with roots: the genetics we inherit from our family, our ethnicity and nationality, and our gender and family history. Our stem grows out of our roots. That stem represents our hopes and dreams, our strengths and weaknesses, and the inner facets of the personality we bring to the world. The flower is the outer way we show up: what we focus on in our lives, how we talk, live and interact. The bloom is, in essence, our gift to the world in the same way flower blossoms are gifts to the garden.
Literature is full of references to flowers. An old French proverb says, “Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace.” Saint Francis de Sales, the Bishop of Geneva, made the phrase more colloquial in the early 1600s when he urged his followers to “bloom where you are planted,” and artist Mary Engelbreit picked it up and turned it into a catchphrase in the 1990s.
Author Stephen Richards links flowers to the way we think. “Minds are like flowers; they open only when the time is right,” he says.
Musician Aaron Neville says flowers offer lessons on how to behave. “Be honest, be nice, be a flower, not a weed.”
Poet E.V. Rogina believes flowers can teach us about inner growth. “Like wildflowers, you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would,” she says.
And last but definitely not least is John Lennon: “Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.”
So, as the last of my summer flowers slowly succumb to cooler temperatures, and we hunker down for fall and winter, I’ll focus on the words of poet Jennae Cecilia: