Persephone & Garden Planning

Persephone by Kris Waldherr

This picture of Persephone by Kris Waldherr expresses my feelings of now. I love the way she is working with the Moon.

It’s the beginning of September, been feeling like autumn for the whole of the previous month too as the dry weather caused early leaf fall, especially of the poplars. I’ve had lots of leaves in with the grass when I mow – the grass + leaves makes a good mix that composts down quicker than leaves on their own and, added to the heap, helps that compost down fast too.

But the good composting doesn’t alleviate my strange feel about the early autumn. It’s been doing this for years now, if you notice, but seem a little more obvious, more in your face, this year. I find myself feeling trepidatious, worried – not about nature and the goddess, I think she can handle herself very well, but about how this will affect my life. It already is in the veg plot as I have to rethink my plans, change my modes of growing and generally adjust. Humans are very like cats in the matter of change – we usually hate it just as much as they do :-). However, me and the cats are taking the changes the goddess is offering up and doing our best to work with them.

It affects how I plan the coming seasons and next year’s growing. I’m already sitting down with the seed lists – and the veg-we-like lists – making myself a year-planner and trying getting things together.

One thing I’ve decided is that I must start the tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers even earlier. I will have a greenhouse next year which will be an enormous help but even so … Over the past 3-4 years we’ve had a very hot time in April, real sun-burn time, even so you have to work very early or late as the middle of the day feels like being on a beach in the Med :-).

I need to take advantage of this more than I have so far and this means getting beds prepped up early … which means

  • getting compost done so it can go in earlier
  • making sure all the rain possible gets to the ground so using membrane to allow water but suppress weeds
  • getting the top surface ready with raking and soft turning to make a tilth
  • sowing seed so the plants are up and ready to go out
  • making sure I have protection for them when we get sudden cold-shifts, and to stop insects and rabbits and others from messing them up – slug pubs out early for instance.
The Lady of Auxerre, Louvre

I’m going to be busy as soon as I can get out there after Yule!

And it means checking – now – that I have the seed I need, sorting seeds (as Persephone did), what can go on to next year, what have I saved from crops this year, what do I have to buy new – like carrot seed! And can I afford it ??? Can I not ??? I mostly wouldn’t eat if I didn’t grow my own, and certainly wouldn’t eat so well or healthily. So already I’m sitting with the lists and catalogues and bed-plans and compost-plans, something I wouldn’t normally be doing until Yule. I enjoy it, but it feels weird, doing it before the autumn equinox. Ho hum … the goddess knows what she’s doing, upsetting our apple-carts is almost certainly a good thing LOL.

This picture of the “Lady of Auxerre” in the Louvre – a statue of the goddess from Crete – also expresses a lto of how I feel at the moment.

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather taleneted cat …
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Character flaws in fiction

Having started poking around the subject of flaws yesterday, I thought it worth exploring in further detail. From a writing perspective, character flaws are very important (Druid perspective tomorrow!) Real people are flawed, after all. Perfect people are dull, and predictable, so once you get beyond very simple children’s stories, flaws become very important in character creation.

A rounded character needs weak points, failings, blind spots, and things they are rubbish at. These open the way for narrative, as through them, events unfold that the character cannot quickly or easily deal with. Failings actually make a character more endearing, I’ve found. People who are too nice, too good, too kind, too reasonable can actually be hard to empathise with. They might be the sort of people we ought to like, but they aren’t quite human and are a lot harder to engage with.

So, how do you go about putting flaws into a character? You might need to consider it in light of the needs of the plot. The character may need to be blind, or agoraphobic, or clumsy for the story to work. You might grow the flaws out of their personal history – in the form of fears and anxieties, beliefs about themselves or the world, old problems that haunt them, and so forth. You might want to give your character a physical disadvantage of some sort – from injury, illness or birth. You might consider a mental disability. Then there are personality traits – anger, jealousy, paranoia, depression, and so forth. Obsessions compulsions and phobias can flaw a character in some very interesting ways, giving you all kinds of scope to play with them creatively. You could make them a bit lazy, bad at handling money, gullible. A combination of flaws can make for a very convincing person.

Of course, if you make a character too flawed, they become unsympathetic or hard to engage with. A selfish, lazy, clumsy heroine who swears compulsively and hates cats and children may be hard to engage readers with. She might however, make a very good problem ex-girlfriend to have complicating the main plot. Getting the balance right with enough flaws to make a character plausible and likable, is not entirely easy.