Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Welcome Guest Blogger: Sarita Leone!

Many thanks to Sarita for taking the plunge and being my first guest blogger! I hope you all give her a warm welcome. (Side note: I have a tiny little post of my own following this one)


From the Vineyard:

First of all, I'd like to thank Marianne for being generous with her blog space and allowing me to visit. This is my first time guest blogging anywhere, so it's a real thrill for me. I hope it'll be a pleasurable experience for you, too.

It's the first week of March and at our house that's a big deal. We have a small vineyard and these are the days we give the vines their first spring pruning. The vineyard isn't huge, nothing as large as the one in my upcoming novel Vineyard Mambo, but it's sufficient to meet our needs. We grow grapes to make enough wine or jam to last from one season to the next. What more could we ask for?

I love this week because as I tend the vines I also do a bit of mental pruning. As my shears snip away a withered branch I contemplate the overflowing idea file I keep on my computer. In my mind, I weed through the projects I've got brewing, knowing I can't possibly attend to all of them. I cut a few out of the running. Relief courses through me as I let ideas fall at my feet. Sometimes an initial thought seems brilliant, but time and distance show it's like the withered vine. It won't produce any more than it has and can only clutter the works. So, I am ruthless and lop extra ideas from that file with what is almost gleeful abandon.

My husband has no clue why I'm laughing as I cut, and we won't tell him, all right? It's better to let him imagine I'm flat-out involved in the vineyard.

After cutting away deadwood, a vine owner needs to assess the potential of all new shoots. Each plant puts out more side shoots than it can feasibly support, and it's the pruner's job to decide what stays and what goes. So, as I weigh the potential of a vine between my gloved fingers, I let my mind drift to the ideas left in my file. There are still some that, no matter how much I love them or think they're grand, won't be strong enough to sustain a well-developed plot. Sometimes even good things need to be sacrificed so as I snip about half of the side shoots I discard an almost equal number of items from my idea file. As my load lightens, I grin even more broadly.

Again, my husband never has any idea I'm not completely in the moment, and we're not going to tell him. Are we? Thanks! I knew I could trust your discretion.

By this time I'm in the home stretch, for both the vines and my mental housecleaning. Grape vines need air circulation, sunlight and warmth to grow strong and healthy. I fasten vines to trellis, rearrange branches and clear away any leaves where earth meets plant. I set my sights on the main trunk of the vine and know that with this attention and a little bit of luck, we'll have grapes to spare come fall.

Before I put away my shears I choose one thought from my file, a main trunk idea, to concentrate on. This is the one that will hopefully become my next novel. I never really know what one I'll choose. I just sort of let the vines work their magic on me. In the end, I think the idea chooses me, if that makes any sense.

Yes, the first week in March is a time of reassessment and maintenance at our place, both inside and out. I look forward to these days, and now that they're here I treasure them. By week's end the vineyard will be immaculate, ready and waiting for spring's kiss and summer's warmth. My mind, too, will be uncluttered. The inspiration for my next story will be stretching in its newly cleared space. By the end of the month my rediscovered ideas will join me and my laptop as we sit in the vineyard and begin to write.

Is it any wonder I love these days? So productive, satisfying and with endless potential. The first week in March is a great time for any vineyard owner, especially one who finds contentment with a pair of shears in her hand!

And next week, when the vines rest and I set my sights on spring cleaning? I won't even try to tell you what kind of decisions I make while tidying closets. That's a topic for another time.

Thanks for visiting with me today. And again, a huge thanks to Marianne for letting me ramble (like my vines!) on her blog! I've loved being here!



Visit Sarita at her blog and her website!


BTW, there are still guest blogging spots available!


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This was a lovely glimpse into a world that I don't know at all. Thanks for the post!

Brandy said...

What a great guest blog!

Dru said...

What a great blog. I like the analogy between pruning vines and uncluttering minds and thoughts.

groovyoldlady said...

Man, I am SO having a difficult time picturing grapes when there is waist deep snow in my yard!

Allie Boniface said...

Sarita, I loved this post! What a wonderful metaphor for writing...especially the idea of discarding some good stuff so that other good stuff can grow.

Can you send me some of that wine??

Ashley Ladd said...

Great interview. I loved the metaphor.

Melissa said...

So cool! Great guest blogging, Sarita!!!

Sarita Leone said...

Thanks, Marianne, for having me here on your blog! I'm thrilled to have done this. It's my first guest blog anywhere and I just loved the experience.

Unfortunately we were (courtesy of an ice storm) without power yesterday so I couldn't come and see this when it posted. :( I was so bummed but what could I do? I laughed, because when life hands you ice balls you've got to make slushies, right?

I've got to say, it's a thrill to finally get here and visit! :)

Sarita Leone said...

Jen and Brandy - Thanks for your kind words. And thanks for taking a peek into my world. :)

Dru - I'm a big fan of multi-tasking. I usually do my best "planning" while my hands are busy working.

Groovy - I'm picturing sunshine on your snow. Maybe that'll help? :)

Sarita Leone said...

Allie - Thank you for your kind words. The wine from homegrown grapes is stunning. Jam, too. We're working on a jar of grape jam that just tastes like summer. :)

Ashley and Melissa - Thanks for joining my first guest blog. Between us, I was a bit nervous but Marianne was such a great hostess she put my mind at ease. I loved every moment of this experience! :)

Anonymous said...

Well, well, who knew you made wine. Red or white? I hope there'll be some in the rack when I come to visit!!
Great blog...excellent!

Aussie Jude

Anonymous said...

Well, well, who knew you made wine. Red or white? I hope there'll be some in the rack when I come to visit!!
Great blog...excellent!

Aussie Jude