Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Wisdom of the Journey

Many years ago, a friend of mine and I attended wine tasting parties. I wanted to learn about wines, and these parties were a good way to find out which wines I liked and which I didn’t. It didn’t take long to realize I liked sweet white wines and disliked the mouth puckering tastes of reds. My friend explained that my palate was still immature, and that if I kept drinking wines, I’d eventually graduate past sweet whites and move on to the reds. I’ll never know if he was correct about that—I eventually stopped going to wine tastings and white wines are still my favorite—but I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t stopped. Would I have grown as a wine drinker?

I’ve flower gardened for many years, often planting over two dozen flats of annuals every spring, much to the dismay of my wife. She often hinted that I should add more perennials to the garden so I wouldn’t have to plant so many annuals, but I didn’t listen. I loved bright colors and I wanted as much of it as I could get over the summer. Perennials only bloom for about a month each summer, so I found them boring. Of course, whenever I read plant magazines, I’d read that annuals were for amateurs—that the real beauty was in perennials, and that real gardeners eventually learned to prefer them. I scoffed at this back then, but these day I find myself appreciating perennials more, and I’ve been adding them to the garden every year. My tastes have changed over time.

What does any of this have to do with writing?

Because they remind me of my writing journey. When I first began writing almost a decade ago, I knew what I liked and what I didn’t. I didn’t mind adverbs, or telling (vs showing), and generally felt that characters were something you randomly tossed into plot driven stories. But over the years I’ve grown as a writer, and the advice I scoffed at back them makes a lot more sense to me now. Who would have guessed?

This transition didn’t happen overnight—learning to do something well takes time—but I can look back now and appreciate the journey. And who knows what the future may bring? Perhaps I’ll even enjoy a red wine somewhere down the road, the day after I publish my first book.

Question: other than writing, what hobbies, interests, etc. have you changed your opinion on?



  1. I'd call that growth.
    I used to prefer blushes but now I like reds.
    I also used to hate mushrooms. My wife never gave up and now I like them.

  2. I've always wanted to go to a wine tasting. :)

    I've done bit of gardening. The most I grow are sunflowers. Sometime, though, I want to create a real garden.

    Did you get the IWSG Newsletter in your inbox today? You're our Featured Member. :D

  3. We have to flounder around a while, getting our footing first.

    Give me a Merlot any day!

  4. Well, there was the rotten boyfriend in graduate school who took me along on his ski trip, dumped me at the lodge in the morning, took off for the day with his friends, and didn't return for me until evening. He had no interest in teaching me to ski or skiing with me. I was obviously along on the trip for only ONE THING, and it wasn't something you did on the slopes!

    So I hated skiing with a passion.

    Until I met my future husband, who wanted to ski with me. Who taught me. Picked me up when I fell down. Encouraged me, got me lessons, and turned me into a a lover of skiing. It is the thing our family does together.

  5. I like how you led to that lesson. My flower journey matches yours. I have mostly perennials now after years of planting dozens of annuals. I also have developed a taste for red wines, and not the sweet ones, as I sampled more wines over the years. I hope I've learned some good writing lessons too.

  6. I still like sweet wines, regardless of color, or better yet: cocktails! But I see what you mean, and it's true that with regular exposure to something, we tend to go deeper each time. We become more sophisticated, if you will, through experience.

  7. I too prefer white wines. Red wines seem to give me a headache - maybe I've tried the wrong ones. But Champagne is my favourite. I used to loathe gardening but since moving to my new house (6 years ago) I've spent many hours in the garden and enjoy it a lot. I find it's a great way to relax the mind. Quite often new ideas for stories pop into my head when I'm digging out weeds or plucking dead flower heads. I've even learned not to run for the house when something buzzes around me :)

  8. You might have added the perennials not so much because your taste changed, but your energy waned. I even tried bulbs once with the idea I would only have to plant every seven years.