Naked Trees & Spring Cleaning

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©Kari Helm

For some reason, as I sit by my window, watching the world around me thaw out from another Midwestern winter, I can’t help but feel like a naked tree.

It’s true that I purposely asked my mother for a random topic to blog about since my website is dangerously close to surpassing even a stagnate state. But even so, when she threw the not-so-creative “leafless tree” theme at me, I felt an odd sense of obligation to just roll with it.

So here I am.

Unbeknownst to my mom, however, was the fact that I’ve been pondering this very topic for some time. Weird, I know. But still, that’s what you get when you travel for three consecutive weekends across the United States, seeing nothing but one bare tree grouping after another.

Maybe it says something about my particular level of crazy, but by the time I hit state four I was feeling a little uneasy. It’s not that I don’t like spring. It’s just that… I don’t like the lack of privacy involved with it. I get that it’s the time of “rebirth” and “renewal” but, in a lot of ways, it’s the time of public exposure. And nothing expresses this more so than the naked tree.

All the other seasons are covered – literally. Trees are flourishing with leaves in the summer and even though fall leads to dropping foliage – it’s still vibrantly alive until usually the first snowfall. And winter – well, if you’re from my neck of the woods, then snow covers everything for 99.9% of the time. Which leaves spring… and a lot of barren trees and flowers that only start to blossom in the very, very, very end of the season.

Or so it seams.

As usual, I know I’m digging too deep into an otherwise pointless topic. But I just can’t help a certain level of guilt brought on by naked trees. I mean, I can’t be the only one who feels awkward waving to my neighbor in the backyard since my patio is no longer sheltered by the normally thriving forest. And don’t get me started on birds nests! For some reason, every time I see a bird’s nest, I feel like a peeping tom. I know it’s ridiculous, but think about it – you are essentially spying on another living thing’s home and that’s majorly creepy.

Or not. Whatever. Maybe it’s just me…

But, as per usual, in a round about way, this topic got me to thinking about writing. Shocking, I know.

Anyways, we all have skeletons in our writing closets. And I don’t mean secrets. I’m talking story ideas that we’ve structured in our heads or even outlined thoroughly enough that we know it’s past time to start writing the books for them.

Yet, we don’t.

Seriously, I know I’m not the only writer out there that has story ideas laying around in my wake. I mean, think about it… I’ve rarely met anyone who isn’t working on one story while silently plotting another. And that, folks, means that writers are, in a sense, in a perpetual mindful state of a blooming spring season.

That means that we are constantly spying on the characters in our stories. Creeping in on their arguments and peering in through those deep plot lines they don’t want anyone to know about. But there we are – constantly peaking at them. And it’s an awkward state to be in, especially if we’re procrastinating with our writing. I mean, how can a story ever move into the summer season and flourish with growth if its always stuck in the preliminary phase?

It can’t.

Which means that I will continue to feel super guilty about prying into the lives of my characters until I give their story its full four seasons and ultimately put a conclusion to it for once and for all. But even though I’ve pinpointed something going on in my writing life – that doesn’t make it a sure fix. Especially when even the idea of sitting down to write has been giving me mental hives lately.

So I guess what I’m getting at is that I need to do a little spring cleaning in my writer’s closet… even if it means risking an allergic reaction to all that built up dust!

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3 thoughts on “Naked Trees & Spring Cleaning

      1. It’s all about disciplining yourself, believe me. Try setting a very specific goal and then force yourself to accomplish that, it won’t work on the first go, but you’ll get into the habit quick enough.

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