Enjoying the plot, digging the writing

Louise Gethin


When Louise Gethin isn’t writing or performing at The Thunderbolt, you might well find her on her allotment. 

 I recently heard the poem by Seamus Heaney – Digging. I fell in love with it on so many levels.

Running through my veins is the blood of my Irish grandfather, who was a keen gardener. I am a writer and a digger.

In fact, only the other week, I was busy on my allotment digging a new site for my compost. There is something about digging which I find inherently satisfying. Last year I dug a hole for a pond, in which there is now a resident frog who pops up from time to time. And no, I haven’t tried to kiss him. I did find him the other week wandering across to the apple tree. I thought, Poor love, he’s lost. So I took him back to the pond. He subsequently spent the next ten minutes hopping and stopping all the way back to the apple tree. I am sure he was frowning. What did I learn from this encounter? Frogs know what they’re about. Leave them be.

Gardening like writing takes perseverence, commitment, vision and digging deeper than I ever think is possible but the rewards are truly great. When presented with a completed short story that says what I want it to, or by an inspired sentence that has taken me 12 hours to create, or by the well-balanced vision of vegetables, flowers and fruits which is the result of a season of labour, I know that I am truly alive and can make a difference.

lilypond 1600x1200

Leave frogs alone

Tending my plots, both literary and green, involves shaping, crafting, thinking, sitting back and viewing, then starting the whole process all over again.

If you don’t write or dig, you should try them. They’re fun.

And don’t get me started on my shed which celebrated its third anniversary this year, or the recent discovery that I love gnomes…


3 thoughts on “Enjoying the plot, digging the writing

  1. writeswann

    Thanks Louise. Loved reading this, and considering the gardening analogy. Hmmm. What does my garden say about me and my writing? Oh dear. Lots of great starts. The same first metre and a half, weeded and planted with great resolve, every spring; but somehow I never get to the rest of the bramble-tangled flower bed. Carefully co-ordinated plant choices are left to grow unchecked, and get all mixed up with each other. A sadly empty bird feeder means we haven’t seen the goldfinches in a while. But hey, the apple tree… despite being partially uprooted during torrential rain, given a dire prognosis (condemned), and since then left in limbo at an unlikely angle… this year has burst into fruit. Perfect, big, picture of health apples. I live in hope!

  2. jane jones

    As far as I’m concerned, gardening is like poetry: I really appreciate the results when someone else has done all the work, but I don’t have the talent for it myself!

  3. Pingback: A View from the Far Side of NaNoWriMo | Bristol Women Writers

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