I have an ornamental bonsai tree which stands outside at the corner of my house. Much larger than this one, but shaped pretty much the same way. I've always liked the exotic look of it and thought it was a nice addition when I decided to buy my house. Tonight, however, when I came home, I discovered that someone had cut three main branches off my tree clear down to the trunk.
My house is finally being repaired after last years storms and I believe the workers in their haste to put up my new gutters, thought it was easier to cut down my beautiful tree than to walk around my house. I was devastated.
Oddly enough, as I stared at those brutal cuts into a tree I have come to love and admire for its individuality, I thought about stories I had written in the past. So many stories I have nurtured into full grown manuscripts. Stories rich with characters and scenes and action, all done with artfully placed words to draw my readers into the world of my imagination.
But if I want the best creation possible, I must cut the excess away. I must trim my story down to its bare roots so that only the best of it may continue to grow. With gardeners, they call it pruning and with writers, we call it editing but the action is still the same. Shaping the things we love the most, all in the hopes of the best and final outcome.
Maybe I can salvage my bonsai. Maybe I can trim and shape it until once again it will be a thing of beauty at my home. My stories, however, may take a little bit longer. I will need to continue to nurture them, cutting out a phrase here, trimming an excess word there, until only the core beauty of the story remains.
Bonsai trees can live for hundreds of years and can be shaped into countless images. If I'm lucky, so will my stories...