Through the Thorns to the Berries

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

I made boysenberry jam a couple of days ago and posted a picture of the finished product on my FB page. It’s fun sharing things that are going on out here on the farm. But after I put up the picture there were a lot of questions about the berries. They’re like blackberries only bigger than wild blackberries and sweeter tasting. Very yummy berries. However, there is a price to pay for that yumminess. They have thorns. Nasty, if you want these berries you’re going to have to earn them with blood, sweat and tears thorns. You see those little curls on the ends of the thorns. That’s what hooks you and once you’re stuck you don’t know whether to move forward or backward to get unstuck. And the leaves have thorns all along them too. There have been times when I’ve been certain the briars reached for me.

Even so, I like them enough to pick them, but I did tell someone once when we had an over abundance of the berries, that I would not pick them for anyone I hadn’t given birth to or who hadn’t given birth to me. And the grandkids, of course. The grandkids have always been brave enough to pick those berries themselves – not to put in a bucket, but to put in their mouths. During berry season, they will stand around the bushes like little birds eating everything in easy reach.

But tonight while I was picking a few berries, I got to thinking about reaching past the thorns for the good berries and how – if you want to really stretch the thought – that can be like coming up with a new story idea. When I’m searching for a new story, I have to reach into my creative bushes in order to find the ripe berry of a new idea. Some ideas are not ready for picking yet. Some may be like berries that have dried up on the bush or perhaps blooms that never were pollinated to make berries. But there will be the perfect ripe berry in there somewhere if I can just reach it. That’s where the thorns come in. 

The thorns are the worries that this time the idea won’t come. This time the story won’t work. Distractions can be thorns to keep me away from the right idea berry. After all, it’s summer. Jam needs to be cooked. Blogs need to be written. Books need to be read. Grandkids need to visit. Mama needs somebody with her all the time. I don’t know that any of those are actually thorns, but they do make it harder to get started on a new book. Perhaps the biggest thorn – the one with the nastiest hook on its end – is procrastination that has me putting off pulling up that first blank page and typing Chapter 1. Got to do that tomorrow.  

“But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.” ~Anne Bronte

 Or berry. Or new book. Wish me a thornless berry/idea bush. 🙂 Thanks for reading.