Sunday, September 25, 2005

Black Days and Blackberries

On Friday morning I got a rejection. It was a black day.

Then, on Saturday, I went blackberrying.

I don't know if I can do the experience justice. I wandered out of our front door with a couple of bags in my pocket, and went for a walk up the lane that's just down the hill from here. It's an old lane, used for as long as people have lived in our village, and worshipped at the other end of the lane. It's not beyond the realms of probability that people have been walking down that path on a bright September day to pick blackberries for more than a thousand years.

It kind of puts you in your place.

The sun on your back, the breeze just lifting your hair. Scarlet rosehips gleaming like boiled sweets among the ferns and frilly yarrow leaves. The bright gems of honeysuckle berries, beside the last, fragrant blooms. The spikes of the blackthorn, sharply proud. Hazel and oak, ash and crab apple, each with their autumn bounty.

Far away, the hum of cars on the main road. But far, far away. Distant enough to ignore in favour of the blackbird's alarmed shrilling, and the laughter of the crows, playing in the updraft.

Here the broad, flattened path of a badger. There the more secretive tunnel of some vole or stoat. A single red admiral butterfly, dancing from sun-patch to sun-patch. The smell of good earth and honest green.

And the fruit itself, squashing overripe and warm between your fingers, plucked with care from between the thorns and nettles, gleaming black and plump in your hand and in your bag. So sweet and wild, it tastes as if it's already been spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

I took some, and left more behind for the mice and the voles, the birds and the crawling things.

And when I went home, mulling over crumble or pie, the rejection was just another step on the road, another medal of valour.

After all - they said not this story, not this time.

There is another story. And there will always be another time.

17 Comments:

At 4:54 pm, Blogger Julie said...

Too right, sweetheart.

And thank you for the picture of blackberrying.

 
At 6:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could just have been a case of wrong time, wrong place - if the ed made any constructive remarks, use them (and if not, DO NOT feel bad). Take a day or so to enjoy yourself (such as today's blackberrying - you've managed to make me feel hungry!) and then take the next step: work on the next book.

Kate H

 
At 9:48 pm, Blogger Sela Carsen said...

God, woman. You've got a gift. Not just in words, but in perspective. I guess that when you pick blackberries, you have to overlook the occasional prickle of thorns.

 
At 2:34 am, Blogger Kristen Painter said...

Sela's right, you have a marvelous voice. And you're getting rejections? We should all quit now.

 
At 6:52 am, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

Exactly, Sela. :-)

No constructive remarks, I'm afraid, Kate. They were complimentary, but when those compliments are framed in a form R, I always think you have to take the good stuff with a pinch of salt, too. No problem.

Thanks Julie. If I could share the blackberry and apple crumble with you, too, I would!

Don't fret, Kristen - even the best get rejected, and I'm far, far from being the best!

 
At 10:00 am, Blogger MaryF said...

Hugs on the R, Anna!

 
At 12:35 pm, Blogger Tess said...

Anna - hugs on the rejection. But the blackberrying sounds lovely :-) It's been ten years since we did it while visiting over there.

 
At 3:53 pm, Blogger The Mom said...

I'm sorry for your rejection Anna. You truly have a beautiful voice, I just don't understand why you haven't been sccoped up by a very smart editor. Yet.
I believe it won't be long now.

 
At 4:06 pm, Blogger Dee said...

Hugs, Anna! MMMMWAH!

Dee

 
At 4:57 pm, Blogger THIS! Christine said...

Oh Anna, such vividness.

Hugs on the R. You Rock! (another R you can add to your accolades)

X

 
At 6:54 pm, Anonymous Sasha said...

Anna, as usual, your prose ifs great!

((Hugs)) onthe R.

 
At 11:46 pm, Blogger Jaye said...

Sorry about the 'R' Anna. But love the treat of your descriptive passage.

 
At 6:24 pm, Blogger Nell Dixon said...

(((Anna))) I'm so sorry.

 
At 4:40 am, Anonymous Danica said...

Great post... I know your time will come soon. :)

 
At 1:38 pm, Blogger Beth Ciotta said...

Terribly sorry about the rejection, Anna. But I so loved this post. Your time will come. I feel it. Hang in and keep writing.

 
At 3:24 pm, Blogger Donna Alward said...

Anna. I'd sell my soul if I could paint a word picture like that, just once.

 
At 12:59 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anna - when I read your beautiful descriptions, my soul is refreshed and my heart sings. I always finish one of your passages feeling as if I've been bathed in a clear mountain stream.

And to have frame such beauty between the reality of an R - I am awed at your ability, strength and balance.

I send you my hug for the rough patch and my admiration at your powerful talent.

Lori

 

Post a Comment

<< Home