Are You This Rose?

In the U.S., we celebrated Father’s Day the other day, so happy belated Father’s Day to those of you who are dads, even if you don’t live in the U.S. And speaking of dads, the winners of Stacy Nyikos’s picture book, Toby (illustrated by Shawn Sisneros; published by Stonehorse Publishing), are two dads. First, if you’re wondering who Stacy is, check out the interview here.

 Stacy_A._Nyikos 9780976419952sm

Now, let’s get to those winners! Without further ado, they are

Are . . .

Are . . .

Are . . .

Phillip McCollum and Charles Yallowitz!

Congrats, winners! Please confirm below and I’ll snail mail the books to you. By the way, each copy was signed by Stacy and comes with a bookmark. Sweet!

Moving on, let me satisfy your curiosity (if any) about the post title. First, take a look at the photo below. That’s the rose to which I refer. I’ve written about roses before. Oddly enough, I keep learning lessons from them unexpectedly.


A few days ago, my stress level had tripled thanks to some issues with a freelance project. Ever have one of those days when everything seems to go bad like food forgotten in a refrigerator? That was the kind of day I’d had. I felt like quitting before I could be booted off the project like someone I know had been. My soul felt rubbed raw thanks to some feedback I received.

When a day goes sour, I do what I usually do (besides grab the nearest pint of ice cream)—I headed out for a drive. As I headed outside, I spotted the rose and took a photo. I’m glad I did, because a day later, the branch was barren. Perhaps someone plucked it, since I didn’t see any petals on the ground. But when I saw that rose, instantly my blood pressure decreased.

This lone rose—the product of a prickle-lined cane—reminds me of the struggle to persist despite daunting circumstances. That’s about as far as I can go with the fancy talk. I wanted to come up with metaphors and other poetic language. I even had aspirations of writing a poem—an ode to a rose by a brick wall. But I’m feeling too raw and too lacking in creative juices these days. So I’m telling it straight—without a chaser. But even though I don’t have the right words, I’m still amazed that a thing of beauty like a rose springs from something that looks like the perfect symbol for pain.


What kind of rose is your life blooming? Perhaps the painful prickles make you doubt you could ever produce anything beautiful. Maybe they make you forget that your life is beautiful. Sometimes I forget that, especially when I doubt my ability to do anything right. That’s why I needed to see that rose, to be reminded that beautiful things are often born out of pain.

Rose cane from Rose photo taken by L. Marie.

33 thoughts on “Are You This Rose?

  1. “…beautiful things are often born out of pain.” How very true, Linda. And a perfect metaphor for the writer’s life.

  2. Seems to me that I was born in a thorn bush. I was last on the delivery sheet and the Stork was tired, so it dropped me there… from a great height.
    Your picture reminded me of something from my childhood. When I was a kid, we used to pick the biggest rose thorns, lick them and stick them to our foreheads to play ‘Rhinos’. That what you do with all thorns, use your imagination to turn them into something else.
    Did you get the orchid pics that I mailed?

    • Oh that brings back memories. I never thought of the rhinos trick, but that would have been loads of fun. I worked as a florist for 7 years and we would snap the few thorns off the stems by pushing them sideways at the base. Wish I’d saved some to take home for my kids to play rhinos!

      • It’s never too late Nancy – I sometimes stick one on my own forehead while I’m writing, invoking the spirit of the Rhino… but be careful, although gentle creatures most of the time, they can run amok when aroused. 🙂

    • I just got them and emailed you from a different email address. I’m amazed that such beautiful flowers grow out in the wild! That’s awesome! Thank you!

  3. Beautiful post, Linda. I’m sorry you’ve had a rough time recently, but I’m happy the lovely rose put things back into perspective. I’ve had a few pricks lately myself…but that’s life I suppose.
    Congratulations to Phillip and Charles!

    • I’m sorry you’ve had some pricks, Jill. Here’s hoping we’ll both be rolling in ice cream days. (Any day that’s a good day is a day I think of as an ice cream day.)

  4. Woohoo! The timing of getting this book couldn’t be more perfect. 🙂 Thank you Linda and Stacy! Can’t wait to read this one with little Angus. Linda, I’ll email you my new address.

    Concerning roses, beauty and pain, the previous owners of our new place planted some beautiful ones in the back and front yards. I’m a little worried we may have to get rid of them when Angus starts to run around though…I can barely keep from hurting myself when I’m trimming the bushes! But your metaphor is apt. I don’t think we can truly know the good without having experienced the bad.

    • Okay good. Use lwashin(at)comcast(dot)net when you email. I can also check the other email address in case you already sent it. I’m glad I didn’t rush off to the post office, since I only had your old address. The book is a big large, so Angus will probably be two or three before he can hold the book on his own. But you can read it to him.

  5. Linda, if this is you lacking creative juices, I want to be there for your good days! Beautifully written. I can so relate to finding the beauty during or after the pain. That rose symbolizes this perfectly. So sorry you had such a bad day and I hope the pain is short-lived. You have so much to offer! 🙂

  6. Sometimes when I feel dry, I’m at my most creative. This post indicates you may be that way as well, Linda.

    I used to have a 40 bush rose garden – the definition of pain and pleasure.

  7. Beautiful post. I think I’ll print out a picture of a rose with its glory of thorns and hang it by my computer to remind me that I need to go through the hard stuff too. There’s incredible growth there and it gives us perspective on the beautiful, the days when we hit the zone, the cherished moments with loved ones… Without the hard, painful, disappointing experiences in our lives, the sweet wouldn’t be nearly as sweet.

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