Waiting to Unfurl

I wasn’t sure what these plants were. All I knew was that there were three of them, and they were huge—well over six feet in height.

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Were they weeds? The insect-bitten leaves at the bottom of each stem had that weedy look. Or, perhaps these plants were something far more sinister, something along the lines of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. (Okay. I know the latter seems a long shot.)

As I passed the three every day on my way to my car, I kept a watchful eye out for alien pods ala Body Snatchers. But then one day, I saw this:

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Which turned into this:

006

So, at last I knew what they were: sunflowers. Perhaps you already knew that, and are laughing at my ignorance right now. But today, the graceful unfurling of petals became even more pronounced as the flower heads turned toward the sun.

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I never realized sunflowers grew to such a height. Watching their heads unfold has been inspiring. Yet I can’t help thinking of my immediate, negative assumption that these plants were weeds. What a difference a blossoming flower makes. But why didn’t the thought that the plants were flowers ever cross my mind? I know you can’t answer that. Actually, I know this is the same short-sighted reasoning I employ whenever I declare that a piece of my writing is “bad” or “weedy” instead of “a flower waiting to unfurl.”

You know what? Instead of writing off something I’ve written as “bad,” I want to have the same patience with it that I had while I waited to see how the plants that roused my curiosity would turn out. I want to delight in the process of unfurling, to have all the confidence in the world that eventually, with hard work, it will turn out to be something beautiful.

sunflower whole

What the sunflower will grow up to look like

What’s waiting to unfurl in your life? Perhaps you question a piece of writing, a new direction, or a new relationship. I hope that before you consider chucking it, you’ll give it time to unfurl. It might surprise you.

Sunflower pictures by L. Marie. Invasion of the Body Snatchers poster from Pinterest. “Grown up sunflower” from Wikipedia.

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30 thoughts on “Waiting to Unfurl

  1. I love Invasion of the Body Snatchers. All those fifties sci if films 🙂
    Although they could have been Triffids! Coincidentally, we transferred a plant that James brought home from playschool into the front garden, not knowing what it was. Turned out it was a sunflower-it opened this week. James is happy, and it’s bigger then him!

    • Wow! That’s so cool! I love sunflowers. I couldn’t be happier that someone planted them near my door.

      Glad James likes the sunflowers though they’re not balloons. 🙂

  2. Wow, I had no idea sunflowers grew so big either! Not surprised you were a bit suspicious of them at first…..
    I’ve been trying really hard to leave my writing along and stop going back to cut stuff out that I think is crap. It got so bad, that it took someone pointing out that I was stripping my writing of everything, including my voice, so that was was left was actually pretty bad/bland and what I had cut was much better but just a little rough.
    I like the unfurling metaphor though, I’ll have to keep that in mind next time I want to tear my hair out over something I wrote!

    Oh and also I nominated you for an awesome reader award, because I find it wonderful how active you are in the blogging and indie writing community. No pressure to accept or do anything, just a way of acknowledging that and saying thanks!

    • Thank you, Celine!! Congrats on getting that award.
      I think your friend gave good advice. Do you usually wait to cut till you have a full draft, or are you cutting while drafting? I hope you can cut yourself some slack and do as your friend suggests. Consider what’s good about your writing.

      • Well I was cutting during drafting, and after – so you can only imagine!
        It’s all about finding a happy middle with writing processes I think, trying all sorts of different things out.

  3. I knew sunflowers grew tall, but I would have guessed that was a weed as well, Linda. 🙂 I recently took a new direction with my writing. I finally put aside an old weed for a project that hopefully has more potential to bloom. Time will tell…

    • Sometimes a piece of writing needs time to blossom. That’s what happened with my current novel. I put it aside for a couple of years and finally finished it. I hope that will happen with the one you put aside, Jill.

  4. Hello Linda! I am finally getting back to blog reading. Don’t feel bad, I wouldn’t have known what it was either. I am clueless when it comes to plants. What a nice surprise to see your weed blooming. 🙂

  5. Nice sunflowers. What’s unfurling here are some long-dead seeds I buried years ago. I did a little interview for SFX magazine about my earliest work for Marvel (UK) on the Ghostbusters comics. It was a fun trip talking about working in such a creative environment with lots of talented people – then I get a txt from one of the very same workmates, asking if I’d like to meet up for a drink as he’s moved down to my small seaside town. None other than Simon ‘Transformers’ Furman.
    Not that I have any desire to get back into writing comics… but hey, a few drinks couldn’t hurt. Not to mention it’s usually where all the best stories start to unfold.

  6. What a great metaphor, Linda! This whole unfurling mystery plant idea could be a great image to use throughout a novel–you could definitely have a character wondering about the weeds as you did and then notice them blooming into sunflowers at the right time in the narrative!

  7. My whole writing process is about unfurling. Ha. You cautioned me to write a synopsis or make an outline, and I just simply cannot do it. It limits the unfurling too much. I know I work so much harder for my 80K words, because I throw so many of them away in the end, but the unfurling……ahhhhh, it’s so much fun.

  8. Nice photo progression, Linda. I save whatever I attempt. Not every seed will sprout, but with the ones that do, it’s always enlightening to go back and look at the “weeds” from which they sprang.

  9. If only fewer people made the same assumptions about other people!

    I love this analogy. 🙂 The application to writing is wonderful, but it applies equally well to many other things. And good for you for waiting out the flowers. May you enjoy their beauty (and the beauty of your writing) for years to come. 🙂

  10. Hi L.Marie.
    I came here from Celine Jeanjean’s blog.
    You have a lovely place here.

    With regards to the beautiful sunflower – I’m ‘green-thumb impaired’. I borrowed the phrase from another blogger… it’s gentler than saying I’m USELESS when it comes to plants… 🙂
    Here’s the shortened version: I once killed a cactus.
    How difficult is that? Very difficult.
    Exactly.
    *sighs*
    So that tells you.
    Need I say more?
    I don’t think so.

    Now on to your question…
    What’s waiting to unfurl in my ‘writerly’ life? A collection of 26 musically-inspired flash fiction pieces/vignettes that I’m busy with, and have every intention of self-publishing… all in good time…
    Nice to meet you.
    Writer In Transit

  11. Pingback: Let the Sunshine In | El Space–The Blog of L. Marie

  12. One of my favourite flowers. A bit big and showy, but who can deny these triffidesque smilers?
    Glad you enjoyed the new Marvel film, the comic book is written by my old mates Andy and Dan. I haven’t seen it yet, but will. Have to. (Andy and I created The Sleeze Brothers series together back in the day).

    • That’s great!!! You know everyone! I never read the comic book, but a friend of mine did (and loved the series). I loved the movie. But then, I figured that I would. 🙂

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