The thing that sticks out
Knowing what to leave in and what to take out
This weekend Meg performed surgery on Giuseppe, our crested Mexican fencepost cactus. (Imported from Italy, hence the name — ha!) Giuseppe had sprouted some offshoots that were keeping him from growing.
As you probably know by now, gardening is one of my favorite metaphors for creative work. (See also: proplifting, etc.) Propagation from cuttings is particularly fascinating to me: by severing a branch of a cactus, you can then regrow it as a new plant. (One little detail I find significant: it’s best to let the cuttings sit and dry and callous before you repot them. Time — always a magic ingredient in our work!)
These prickly pear in our front yard, for example, started out as single little pieces transplanted from our friend’s back yard. (I have been meaning to write for a while about how prickly pear really let you see exponential growth in slow motion.)
Thinking about propagation as a metaphor made me think about “relocating your darlings” — the idea that we can cut things out of our work that we love but don’t seem to be working with the piece as a whole. If we plant those cuttings in new soil, we can grow them into a whole new thing.
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