#amwriting: Write like a pansy

Free-Range Pansies photo credit cjjap copyMy favorite books are written by fearless writers. These authors dare to write because they have something to say, not because they have something they think will sell.

So how does that concept of fearlessness tie in with the title of this blog post? It does say “pansy,” right?

Don’t sell pansies short.

Pansies are fearless plants. They thrive in the strangest places–at least in our yard they do. My husband is an avid gardener, but he really doesn’t plant a lot of annuals. He does get a few hanging baskets and sets a few pots on the front steps for color. Other than that, our yard has large shrubs, lilacs and hydrangeas.

But it wasn’t always that way:

This story began ten years ago, when we bought our house. It was just a brand new tract-house, sticking out of the rocky, Northwest mud. No grass, no plants, nothing but mud everywhere. What we didn’t know then is that we sit on glacial tilllots of rock, and very little soil.

The house came with no landscaping, although a month after we moved in, the builder did spray hydro-seed over the scant inch of topsoil where our front…lawn…would attempt to grow. We were a little strapped for funds, so we  bought $100.00 worth of annuals, and a few perennials, and had a few yards of topsoil for berms brought in so  at least the front of the house would look decent.

Some of those annuals that made our yard look okay that year were pansies.

Ten years and a professional landscaping later, those few pansies that were just for fill that first year are still going strong, reseeding themselves and expanding their reach every year.

During those ten years, we have had deep freezes, we’ve nearly been flooded, and this year we have had an unprecedented drought.


And every year, those pansies have grown bolder, and stronger. They’ve thrived  when nothing else did, and this year they have staked out new territory–our driveway.

Yep! The soil they like the best is the driveway gravel. It’s harsh and dry, with few nutrients. Apparently pansies are like authors: adversity makes them strong.

My husband and I like our free-range pansies–and we’re pretty much treating them the way we do our grand-kids:

If that’s where they want to grow, fine. Just don’t break anything.

That is pretty fearless, setting down roots where a Subaru Forester is regularly parked by a man who may forget you’re there and park on top of you.

And what does this tale of resilience and free-range gardening have to do with writing?

Be fearless in your writing. Write because you have a story to tell, and only you can tell it.  If the story takes you to uncomfortable places, but you can’t stop writing it, just go with it. Sometime the best work is a little edgy, and a lot scary to write.

What you do with your work after you’ve written it is up to you, but I’ve always been glad that the bold writers dared to publish their work.




Filed under Humor, Publishing, Uncategorized, writing

3 responses to “#amwriting: Write like a pansy

  1. Okay, I am going to go be fearless in my writing. Thank you.


  2. Stephen

    Obviously, you had me at metaphor.