“Making it”

This month at See Jane Publish, we’re talking about defining success. Success is such a subjective standard, I’m not even sure what conclusions we’ll come to — except maybe “We’ll know it when we feel it.”

Recently on my author blog, I posted about feeling like a failure because I hadn’t been writing. While I’m back on the writing chain gang, I’m still not up to speed so I’m feeling like less of a failure, but I’m still not feeling like a success. As a member of the maker/creative class, if I’m not creating and making, I don’t feel good.

IMG_1567But spring has come early to my few square feet of Oregon soil, so it’s gardening time. Which is a great place to remind myself of how things grow in their time, of ebbs and flows, of productive and fallow seasons.

We planted some early greens in a repurposed fire pit. They are small and tender now, and I’ll have to be diligent about slug protection, but given some time, they’ll provide salad for months until they go to seed in the heat of summer.

IMG_1566We also built a new strawberry bed out of some old lumber. Half Hood strawberries (which are only June bearing but supremely tasty) and half everbearing, this one bed will need a few years to fill out. Once the plants are established, it will provide a winter’s worth of frozen fruit — smoothies! waffles! ice cream! — to tide us over to future springs.

I’m not a patient gardener (did I mention how if I’m not creating, I’m not happy?) but for strawberries, I’ll wait.

IMG_1564Before spreading some fresh straw for mulch, we pulled out the last of last year’s parsnips. Some will get fried up like french fries (actually tastier than you might imagine — ah, the power of oil and salt) but after a year in the dirt, some had gotten woody and went straight into the compost bin. Still, they were not entirely wasted. They’ll break down and feed some future crop.

A weekend of grubbing in the dirt reminded me that there are many paths to “making it”. Some — like salad greens — are faster than others — like strawberry beds. Some might not seem successful at all — like old parsnips. But we’ll keep plowing away at it. And as the sun set on our 2015 garden, I am reminded that tomorrow is another day, to make of it what I will.



About Jessa Slade

Jessa Slade is the author of the Marked Souls urban fantasy romance series (NAL Signet Eclipse), the Steel Born paranormal romance series (Harlequin Nocturne Cravings), and award-winning self-published science fiction romance with Hotter on the Edge. You can find her online at all the usual haunts.

Posted on April 6, 2015, in Auth: Jessa Slade and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Jessa Slade and commented:

    From my post at See Jane Publish


  2. I wish I had the gardening gene. My top hope is to figure out how to create a kitchen herb garden. Let me know when the salad is ready… We might need another Jane retreat 😄😄😄


  3. Recently de-jobbed myself and struggling with definitions of success. Your post is a great reminder of cycles. Thank you.


  4. This is such a beautiful piece, and not only because I’m a big fan of parsnips. 🙂

    I love your analogy to growth cycles. Just what I needed on this stressful Monday.


    • Wait, someone actually likes parsnips? Huh. You probably like rhubarb too 😉


      • Yum, parsnips! Butter’s nice on ’em as well…

        Thanks for a great post. I’m finding as I approach that fateful countdown to the end of the day job I’m questioning not only my sanity for deciding to leave, but also how I’ll go about knowing whether I’m doing anything worthwhile.

        Maybe the garden is the first stop on the path to finally figuring out what I want to do when I grow up…


  5. Glad you had some dirt therapy over the weekend. 🙂 I also tie being productive to success or failure. Am working on modifying that habit that has been entrenched over many decades. Thanks for a post that just felt good!


    • At a writing workshop this weekend, we had a class on mindfulness meditation. I could barely keep the stillness for ten minutes. All the things I could’ve been DOING! Based on my sheer resistance, I do believe that’s something I need to practice more: not doing, just being.


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