Not the prettiest things in the world, are they? But deep in the wizened hearts of each of these seed potatoes lurks a pretty green plant.
And underneath each green plant lurks a half dozen new potatoes--if I'm lucky. Texas being Texas and what with the usual vagaries of temperature and rainfall (and climate change on top of that), the pretty green plants don't always yield six potatoes. Sometimes only three, maybe even just one. Some seasons the crop is splendid, some seasons not so much.
But whatever the outcome, the magic is always there for me. I come from a long line of gardening women, and planting potatoes, as I did when I was a kid and as my gardening mother did and her mother before her and so on, is a celebration of life and hope and trust in a beneficent universe. All of which is on my mind this morning, as I sort through this year's seed potatoes and get ready to put them in the ground.
Also on my mind: Bittersweet (China Bayles' 2015 mystery), due at the end of March. Last week, Bill & I took a 2-day research trip down to Uvalde County, where Bittersweet is set. We visited Utopia (we had pie at the Lost Maples Cafe), drove along the southern rim of the Edwards Plateau, and visited a couple of places where Bill used to spend summer vacations when he was a boy. Uvalde County is unique. It straddles two very different ecological regions--the Edwards Plateau and the Coastal Plains--so it offers a rich variety of landscapes, plant communities, and wildlife. I'm about a third of the way through the book, which is taking China into the deer and exotic breeding/hunting business, a burgeoning enterprise across the country. Here in Texas, it's a political hot potato with potentially unfortunate environmental consequences.
Update on A Wilder Rose. Kirkus named Rose to its list of Best Indie Fiction for 2013--quite a compliment to the book! The number of libraries acquiring it has zoomed up to 225 (just in the World Catalog system)--even a library in Australia! It will appear in a large-print edition in March, and it's under consideration for audio. I couldn't ask for a warmer response to the book.
Update from Persevero Press. You may remember that I launched my own imprint last year, Persevero Press. We've recently added the 20th anniversary edition of Work of Her Own: A Woman's Guide to Creating a Right Livelihood to the list, and two other titles will be forthcoming shortly. Some of these books will be available via Kindle and Nook only, some also in print. I'm delighted with the new and exciting publishing technologies that make it possible to get books into the hands of readers. There'll be a lot of junk on the market, but discriminating readers will quickly sort through that stuff and choose the ones they think are worth their reading time.
I finished the needlepoint project (designed by the amazing Laura Perin) that' I'm donating to the silent auction that's held during Story Circle's National Women's Memoir Conference, coming up in April, in Austin. When you come, please plan to spend time out in the Hill Country. It's going to be a banner year for bluebonnets!
Reading Note: I never feel that it's finished, but you have to stop somewhere.--Annie Proulx