muses and mentors: gwg #4

I actually wrote this nearly a month ago but am just posting this now. I’ve been behind on the prompts even though I start them right away. I prefer to write out the drafts and come back to them after a bit of time. Much like my zine writing.


I would be lying if I didn’t say that Gayla Trail is my gardening muse. I picked up her first book, You Grow Girl, back when I worked at Broad Vocabulary (a feminist bookstore). Her laid back, alternative voiced, and beginner level approach helped make gardening cool, contemporary, and like I could really do it. I don’t want to pat her back too much since this is a writing prompt from her, but it is undeniable that without reading her books and blog over so many years that I would be the gardener I am today. Her ability and passion for growing real food in even the smallest space encouraged me to start veggies on my boring, concrete, partial sun patio. While she’s very knowledgeable and has many years of experience on me I can still see her as a contemporary. I’ve always loved taking and viewing well-crafted botanical photographs and hers give that same macro lens look at the tiniest detail that I so enjoy in my own work. Reading her writing encouraged me to keep my own diligent log, with many details I learned from and would have forgotten from season to season. Just writing about the garden helps me learn, focus, contemplate, plan my next step. I aspire to identify more, to memorize what comes from which seedling, to try varietals. What once seemed stuffy, just for old ladies, and out of reach to truly manage is now an everyday revolution, on the smallest scale, for myself if no one else.


Since I don’t want to just credit Gayla (again, this was her prompt), I started to think about other muses. It was clear – Georgia has been with me for as long as I can remember. O’Keeffe’s paintings aren’t always looked at with the same light. People say it’s sexual, vaginal, too feminine, not serious. I don’t care about any of that. Her floral and southwestern imagery had an impact on me, they burrowed into me and are still here today. I’d like to give her a moment of credit for allowing these me to explore these things, for them to become a part of who I am. Now if only I could get those poppies to grow…


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