Last night I did a St. Patrick’s Day themed flower arranging workshop for a local women’s group. While I was doing the demonstration, my mind kept wandering to the similarities between the techniques I was teaching and writing.
First, I showed the women how important it is to weave a solid foundation of greens in order for the rest of the arrangement to stay in place. My mind went right to the importance of first lines, first paragraphs and pages.
The women’s arrangements ended up being a variety of shapes, styles and sizes. Some of them were low and plump, and would look nice displayed on a kitchen table. Others were tall and skinny, more suitable for a buffet or stand. In this case, where the arrangment ended up being displayed didn’t matter. But, when doing orders in a flower shop or writing a story with the intention of selling it, creating something which fulfills the customers/readers expectations is vital.
I had included an oversized palm leaf with each woman’s flowers as kind of a test. Several of the women shoved the leaf to one side. Others eyed it skeptically. I’d included the leaf to challenge the woman—and provide the chance for them to individualize their arrangements. I showed them how they could snip the huge frond into several small pieces, then use it so it looked like blades of grass. Or they could create loops with the blades. At any rate, the palm was like a writer’s inventiveness which individualizes stories.
Enough about flowers. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all.