August 23, 2013

On the Road Again

Last September, I was invited to give a talk on ‘The Garden Club Gang’ at the New Meadows Garden Club in Topsfield, Massachusetts.  The member of the club had read the book as their summer reading ‘project’ and they thought that hearing about how the book came to be written would be a nice ‘ice-breaker’ for their first meeting of the new club year.  I readily agreed.
Then, about two weeks before the meeting, I received a call from the club president.  “You know, we’re a horticultural club,” she told me.  “We want to hear about your book, but could you also make it a horticultural talk as well?”
“Sure,” I said.  And then immediately started wondering what business I had speaking about gardening to garden clubs.  Betty is the horticulturalist in the family; I’m the mystery writer. 
But then I started thinking about ‘The Principal Undergardener’ and my idiosyncratic take on the subject through that lens.  For those who may not be regular readers, this blog is my ‘etude’ – a warming-up exercise for writing fiction; akin to a pianist’s finger-stretching pieces.  I write about gardening because I spend a lot of time in gardens, and the internet is already overly full of learned discourses on wine and politics.  What I frequently write about is gardening as humor.  I create a tight, 900-word essay and then polish it as relentlessly as I would the chapter of a book.
And so I began weaving a dozen or so essays into a talk – ‘The Rule of Three’ and ‘The Slug and I’, for example – and found illustrations in my blog files.  With forty-eight hours to spare, I had a talk completed. 
The talk was a success.  And then clubs started discussing among one another about what programs they had enjoyed and my name came up.  Then I went to a few libraries and they, too, began posting reviews.  To make a long story short, I have forty-five talks scheduled between late August and May.  Most are at garden clubs but a number of my talks will be open to the public.  Here’s the schedule of upcoming ‘open’ presentations as I currently know them.  If a garden club is hosting the event, that too is noted, which means you may have the pleasure of also sitting through a club meeting (I find them fascinating).   All locations are in Massachusetts except as noted:
September 19  7:00 p.m.         Billerica Library
October 9        11:45 a.m.       Jenks Center, Winchester (Winchester House & Garden Club)
October 15      6:00 p.m.         Dickinson Library, Northfield
October 16      7:00 p.m.         Norwell Library
November 5    7:00 p.m.         Northborough Library (Northborough GC)
January 15       10:00 a.m.       Belmont Library (Belmont GC)
January 15       7:00 p.m.         Millis Library (Millis and Norfolk GCs)
January 16       11:00 a.m.       Andover Historical Society (Village GC of Andover)
January 21       9:45 a.m.         Needham Library (Needham GC)
February 4       7:00 p.m.         Carlisle Library (Carlisle GC)
March 26         7:00 p.m.         Milford Library

April 14           7:00 p.m.         Chelmsford Library (Country Lane GC)
May 21           7:00 p.m.         Hopkinton Library 

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