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Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Want To Be A Dandelion

Today, I began the ever-exciting task of pulling the countless dandelions in my yard before their pretty, little yellow flowers turn into a plethora of evil, uncontainable seeds that will scatter effortlessly and destroy what remains of the grass in my yard. Some were obvious contrasted again the black mulch in the flower beds. The big ones with the ginormous flower were also easy-pickins. But many of them camflouged themselves. Their tentacles reaching out to the neighboring, healthy grass. Lying low with the budding flower tucked into itself. But I scoured each section of the yard with my dandelion picker firmly in my grasp, relentlessly pulling them out without mercy.

So as I'm working on this arduous task, which is mind-numbingly boring, a thought pops into my head. I want to be a dandelion. More accurately, I want my writing to be like a dandelion. They pop up then morph their flowers into fuzzy seeds before we have time to attack them. When I was a kid, I loved to pick them, purse my lips, and blow. Watching the little white pieces fly everywhere. My neighbors must've hated me. But dandelions don't need precocious children to multiply. A gentle wind is all it takes to strip the weed bear of its seeds. Each weed has so many seeds. Kind of like readers. If you read a book and love it, you tell your friends. You pass around your worn copy. I even released my beloved Hunger Games trilogy because I wanted its recipient to fall into the world I did.

I want those who read and like my work, who find value in it as either an escape or an idea that provokes reflection, to share it--to pluck the dandelion and blow. Because to be a successful writer doesn't simply require good writing. It requires people who are willing to share it. To support the writer on the journey to publish what we've put heart, pain, and much love into. One of the traits of a successful writer--self-promotion--goes against my nature. Against my Southern upbringing of humility and focus on others. But to reach people, writers must ask that their words be picked. That readers blow the white puff.

One last trait I gleaned from my battle with the weeds today is that dandelions are stubborn. Unlike most weeds that you can simply reach down and pluck, I'm required to use a special tool--my dandelion picker--because the roots are deep and will not yield without a fight. As I sit here, I can already feel a slight ache in my lower back from having to lean my weight into the picker and shove it deep into the ground. Until I reached the end of the long, anchoring root. And heaved.

I want to be a dandelion. My words easily scattered. My roots so deep and stubborn that it causes an ache in those who try to yank me from where I sit in this journey.

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