Taming An Overgrown Idea

“I don’t know what to write about!”  A common lament, especially among new writers.  Recently a woman said that very thing to me, then added:  “Everything worth saying has already been said.”

 No, it hasn’t.  Certainly not the way you can say it.

It brings to mind that scourge of neighbors’ late summer gardens, the giant squash.  My neighbor was just over here trying to foist a hugely overgrown zucchini off on me.  Her garden was overrun, she pleaded, and she couldn’t bring herself to waste them.  It was always good to have a few in reserve, she insisted.  Finally, she begged, Please, wouldn’t I take one?  Or perhaps five?

I never plant zucchini in my own garden because it’s so easy to come by—on my doorstep, in the backseat of my car, in a basket at the entrance to church.  My husband Dan says, “How can there be world hunger so long as people grow zucchinis in their gardens?”

I have recipes for zucchini bread, zucchini soufflé, stuffed zucchini, and a whole array of casseroles.  But I just learned something new from a woman in Helena, Montana.  She took one of those overgrown garden wonders and—this is the truth, folks!—used it to fight off a 200-pound black  bear that dared force its way into her house.  First she kicked at the bear, but that just made it madder.  So she grabbed up the zucchini she had just that day brought in and bopped the bear on top of its head.  That bear did exactly what I do when I see my neighbor coming up the driveway with an overgrown zucchini under her arm: It turned and ran.

Think of your ideas like overgrown zucchinis.  When you think you’ve done everything possible with them, set them aside and wait for a breath-taking new approach to surprise you.  Then grab up your worn-out idea and bop a bear on its head!

“In literature, as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.”

Andre Maurois



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4 responses to “Taming An Overgrown Idea

  1. Kay,
    Having dealt with zucchini’s in my own garden for years, I know of what you speak. I solved the problem by planting my zukes in a little pot that stunts their growth. I hope I’m not doing that with my ideas. I’m reminded that one day King Solomon felt very wise and pontificated to his court, “There is nothing new under the sun…” and then his Grand Wazir whispered to him, “You said that yesterday….” Thanks for the good word, I’ll keep working with what I’ve got, even if it seems like yesterday’s paper. 🙂

  2. My neighbor’s zuchinni plant had grown over the top of the tall wood fence dividing our properties. I enjoyed its growing over my fence longer and wider and the Zuchinni developing and growing. One day I saw her in the front yard and walked over to visit with her a few minutes. During our conversation I told her how much I had been enjoying her zuchinni plant growing over my fence and it had some lovely zuchinni on it. We finished our visit and a short time later she rang my doorbell which I answered and she came in with a pair of scissors in her hand and walked through my house to the patio door, out that door and marched over to the zuchinnis. She cut off the zucchinnis and set them in front of her feet while she cut the vine off and threw it back into her yard. She thanked me for telling her about them and that she thought she should get them out of our yard. She then picked up the zuchinnis and went out of our yard through the gate back to her house. I must have stood there with my mouth open for 5 minutes before I actually realized what had just happened. LOL All this time I was looking forward to eating those zuchinnis and was sure she wouldn’t have minded. I’m sure glad we didn’t pick them and eat them, then have her come ask for them! She said she thought some had probably grown over the fence and had been meaning to come get them. Not once did she tell me we were welcome to them since they had spent their growing time in our yard, our water, our caring and our mouths watering. Some people just don’t get it, but I’m not sure which one of us doesn’t.

    Barb Shelton

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