I loved school as a kid. It got me away from the stresses of the house and into a place where I was free to indulge in my love for reading and learning. While the social dynamics of the playground are rarely easy for any of us to navigate, school opened my mind to possibilities, to a world I couldn’t have imagined from within the fear-filled confinement of a dysfunctional family. What I loved most, more than free time in the library or the hours we spent huddled on the floor as the teacher read aloud, was Show and Tell. While, I know that giving presentations was a part of all grades, I remember Show and Tell in grade one best.
Mine was an open-concept school, wherein the grade one class was an amalgamation of two classrooms and two teachers. We sat at tables of six students rather than individual desks, and you had to wait patiently for the weekly Show and Tell presentations to come around to your table. The wait was gruelling and I would spend the weeks and days before my turn came up assessing the contents of my room, searching for the perfect thing — the thing I loved most — full of the hopeful anticipation of the moment when I would have the opportunity to share it with the class. There was so much that I couldn’t share and say as a kid, so many silences that needed to be observed carefully; pain and joyfulness that I could not reveal. Show and Tell was sometimes fraught with fear and anxiety, but overall it was a safe context in which I could reveal myself.
Jump ahead, oh, a few decades or so, and here I am doing a job that in many ways feels a lot like Show and Tell. The only difference being that instead of holding up an item of someone else’s making and proclaiming, “Here I am. This is me. This is what I love.” I have encapsulated it (me) within a creation that came from my own heart, mind, eyes, and hands. All of the hopeful joy, excitement, anxiety and fear is still a part of it.
In order to keep making things I need them to sell. Unfortunately, I am not the world’s greatest self-promoter. I may have loved presenting things in grade school, but as an adult, I find no joy or comfort in showing off my own work. Talking about it makes me sweat. It makes me feel slimy and narcissistic. I pretty much hate it.
So here I am, less than two weeks left until my third book, “Easy Growing: Organic Herbs and Edible Flowers from Small Spaces” goes out into the world and I am feeling the usual mix of emotions: excitement meets nausea. The trick I’ve found, and the one I am struggling to employ again is to focus on the making part of the process. I think back to the good times I had while I was imagining what this book would be. I recall in my mind the times I spent in the garden planting, taking pictures, harvesting, and testing recipes. I try to tap into my child brain and ask myself how she would feel and what she would say while standing up in front of the class with this book in hand.
I think she would like it very much. I think she would say, “Here I am. This is me. This is what I love.”
My publisher, Clarkson Potter, has agreed to do a prelaunch giveaway of two copies of the book. I thought that in the spirit of my story it would be fun to make it a Show and Tell of sorts.
Simply post a comment via the box below. Please be sure to use a valid email address as I will be using that to contact the winners.
Please include a comment or link to a photo or post online of a plan or plans that you have this year that include herbs or edible flowers. It can be a picture or post about your garden from the last season, your garden as it is right now, or a garden grown by someone else. Garden season is underway for some and on the horizon for the rest of us. Let’s inspire each other and get excited about the forthcoming growing season!
If you’re feeling uninspired or uncomfortable sharing, you can always just type in, “Count me in” or something similar and that will work as your entry.
I will choose 2 winners at random on Friday, February 3, 2012 at 6pm EST.
Please note that this contest is only open to addresses in Canada and the Continental USA. (Sorry.)