Friday, March 11, 2011

Chaotic Garden

This is a fiction piece written in response to this week's Red Writing Hood prompt from The Red Dress Club.

Julie pulled on the gloves and sighed. The sun was already getting hot and she had a long morning ahead of her.

The day her realtor brought her to this house, Julie was hurried and barely interested in the listing. It was smaller than she wanted, in a neighborhood she wasn't familiar with and the price was slightly above her budget. When she walked through the front door, into the open, airy living room that looked straight through the dining room and into the modern kitchen, her mood brightened.

It wasn't perfect, though. The upstairs needed some work. The bathroom hadn't been updated, the closets were practically non-existent, and the bedrooms needed a new coat of paint. And then there was the postage-stamp sized backyard.

It was an absolute mess, an eye-sore, really. The ivy and honeysuckle vines were taking over the fence, covering almost the entire length of it. There was a pile of broken bricks in the back corner, and an overgrown patch of what seemed like purposefully placed weeds along one side of a small, cracked patio. The chaos of it seemed to reflect the chaos of her life. All she could see, though, was the flower garden she could put in along the fence. The herb garden she could grow where the wild patch was. The bistro set she'd place on the patio so she could drink coffee and read books in the sun. It was the potential of the small backyard that sealed the deal.

Three years later, she still hadn't tackled the project of tangled vines, weeds, broken bricks and cast-off items. It was still a mess. After the honeymoon period of painting and decorating and unpacking was over, she just hadn't found the time or energy to pull out the gardening tools and trash bags and transform the yard into something she could enjoy. She had purchased the bistro set the weekend before as an incentive. It only needed a place to go.

The weather was getting warmer, the days were getting longer, and Julie refused to go another summer drinking her morning coffee and reading books indoors. She picked up her trimming clippers and got to work on the vines. This messy, overgrown backyard was an oasis waiting to be uncovered.

This post was written in response to the new weekly prompt at The Red Dress Club created to help develop memoir writing skills.

Write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly - and find the beauty in it. Word limit is 600.

Constructive criticism is welcome.


amygrew said...

I love her vision for the backyard. It makes me want to live there! So glad she got started!

Anonymous said...

As a gardener (kinda) I love this post. There's something so soothing and seductive about working in the garden. The life, the death, the chaos, the order. You captured it all.

Valerie Boersma said...

This is my kind of post-I love gardening!
(My post for this prompt was about gardening too!)
Good job on this-I wish I could see Julie's garden when it's all done-and she is sitting at that bistro set:)

Cheryl said...

If it were up to me, I'd sell the house and the vines would STILL be there. I have the best intentions, but...

Kid Karma said...

The first blog I've decided to follow! Wonderful writing. I like writing, myself, but I rarely have time, as I'm spending all of it working on getting my degree in Graphic Design.

Of course, when I blog, I don't usually do so with much skill. I save my efforts for more official writings. Maybe I'll post more of my writing on my blog now!

Good job on your work.

Ami said...

Thanks for the comments! I'm a wanna-be gardener, so Julie is a bit of an autobiographical character. My yard is in a bit better shape, but my big plans for it haven't quite come to fruition yet. :)

Kid Karma - I'm honored to be your first follow! Thanks so much for stopping by, reading and commenting.

Nancy C said...

I like this a lot. The garden symbolizes her reawakening. I get the sense she's starting her life over, and is finally building up the strength to tackle this project.

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