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  • Writer's pictureJayna Newbold

Out of Control

Dear Hearts,

Spring has sprung in a mighty way!

Here on the “left coast” of the U.S., we’re experiencing a superbloom. Magnificent fields of bright yellow mustard flowers, our state flower of California Orange Poppies, a plethora of additional Poppy varieties, Lavender, Bentham Lupine, Bluehead Gilias, Lacy Phacelias, etc.

The list is endless.

Don’t be impressed. I have no knowledge of floral species like my hiking buddies who can recognize each flower by their scientific name in Latin. I only know how much I am enjoying the spectacular views, aromas, and colors as I drive and hike . . .

. . .unlike those poor folks who spy a mustard field and declare, “All I see out there is a major allergy attack waiting to happen.” I don’t have allergies, but I do feel for my friends who suffer from them and cannot thoroughly enjoy the fabulous superbloom experienced by the rest of us.

The California superbloom can even be seen from space.

More like a super “whoa!”

I hear and see more birds and wildlife in my neighborhood than usual. Normally, this time of year, I see Blue Jays, a variety of Finches, a few birds of prey (I live next to an open field and am eternally grateful for the Raptors and gorgeous Red Tail Hawks who maintain consistent mouse patrol), and several others.

However, even the chickens and rooster who live next door and escape to my front lawn from time to time seem especially twitterpated this year. I never mind their visits as they are comical, colorful, and curious. Quite entertaining, they are!

In time for Easter, the lilies are extra supersized and grand! Making a statement, their stalks are thick, taller than normal, and enormously sturdy.

So, Dear Hearts, beside nature’s candy-feast for the eyes, what does this mean?

While those of us who are allergy-free thoroughly revel in the super bloom that is splendiferous, there are those who believe there is cause for concern.

Dear Hearts, we all know I’m no scientist, so I do not pretend to expound on Global Warming - or most would correct me and say “Climate Control”.

However, whatever you choose to call Mother Nature’s behavior of late (all over, not just on the left coast), it is out of control!

For several summers in a row now, we have experienced drastic drought. This past winter - and now, spring - we have been the recipient of an exorbitant amount of rainfall; hence, our super bloom results. Typically, this level of rainfall also causes erosion and mudslides in our beautiful state; not to mention vegetation booms, causing our forest and fire departments to remain on high alert as our raging fires have made international news; especially in the summer and fall months.

Dear Hearts, the entire situation reminds me of the writing process.


It does!

I am editing a project right now which contains such a dumping of extraneous phrases, getting to the meat of the story is a challenge to say the least. A superbloom of words so to speak.

Except in this case, the abundance isn’t pretty. Like our wildfires here in California, the superfluous wrangle produces nothing but disaster.

I will not reveal the project, of course, but I know the author very well and find it challenging to not only edit his short (I use this word loosely) story, but also to find a way to tell him I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Wading through what I gather he considers prose is like trudging through acres of jungle, thorns, and weeds before I arrive at a clearing where a meadow of daffodils and poppies can be viewed. Much like the rapid spread of excess pollen, his surplusage creates a reaction equal to severe allergies. The reader questions, “What did I just read? Was it worth getting into?”

Phrases wracked with confusion such as “her eyes blinked back tears of sadness while her heart pounded with joy”.

What? Is the character sad or happy?

At one point, I counted five uses of the word “that” in one sentence. Dear Hearts: No writer finds this word necessary (there are exceptions, of course). I implore you to re-read your manuscript and consider removing its use - at least, most of them! All of the above examples force your well-intended good read into an out-of-control jumble of literary weeds.

If you want your readers to experience a lovely superbloom in your writing, insert the bloom into the story line by allowing your characters and tale to slowly (not too slow, mind you) unfold like a beautiful delicate flower, or field of flowers; add a few surprises along the way. Insert color by using a bit of humor, romance, mystery, or truth.

Top it off with a message, moral, fabulous or wildly crazy ending - and voila! You have a proper literary superbloom extravaganza!

Fortunately, unlike nature, an editorial disaster can be avoided - or at least, rectified via services of a real editor; one with a trained eye, talent for turn of phrase, and the intestinal fortitude to tell her client the truth; someone who has the professional ability to weed through a mess of what you might consider a superbloom, but in actuality is a jungle of phraseology with a sweet story embedded somewhere in its dense midst - as opposed to handing your manuscript to a family member or friend who “sort of” did alright in high school English class.

You will be glad you did.

And now, Dear Hearts, I leave you with a best wish to enjoy the smell of roses, the sight of brightly colored tulips, the sound of bees humming and birds tweeting, the feel of cool soft grass beneath your bare feet, eventually finding a comfortable spot in nature where you might even enjoy reading a good book . . .

. . .and the splendor of a superbloom.


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