Designing the garden and novel

I sat out on the deck and did my Morning Pages (Julia Cameron’s Artist Way) and then, after admiring the geraniums blooming  creamy pink amongst the catmint, began reading “Beautiful by Design” a book on gardening by Tara Dillard. It occurred to me that the points she was making about learning plant design applied to the art of fiction writing:

 “What I learned from my Garden (fiction writing):

1. Gardens (fiction writing) require patience. A garden (novel) doesn’t happen overnight.

2. Striving for beauty in the garden (writing) is part of garden (novel) design.

3. Less can be more. Sometimes what is not there makes what is there more important.

4. My garden (fiction) continually teaches me new ideas.

5. I have to unlearn old ideas that no longer serve my garden (novel). Gardens (novels) are ever-changing–so should be my knowledge about my garden (writing).

6. An important rule of garden (novel) design: Simplify. The placement of focal points…is one of the most important points of garden (novel) design. I had to learn what is the right style of ornamentation for my garden (writing). Simplicity is a virtue.”


“Kathy-Diane Leveille observes the ties and binds of working class lives in lucidly evoked rural settings….her settings and especially her characters–their hopes and fears, verbal and behavioral tics, even their smells–are keenly observed and full of sensual presence.” The Globe and Mail