Sometimes the simplest writing prompts are the best. And sometimes--probably quite often--prompts are all around us in nature.
At my Saturday morning writing group June 15, we met on my patio, and I plucked a prompt from my tropical hibiscus patio tree.
We passed the seven-inch diameter, deep coral bloom from hand to hand, and each of us--all women this week--took a turn at tucking it over one of our ears, like we were posing for Gauguin to paint our portrait.
This particular bloom lasts only one day; tomorrow a different bud will open and this one will shrivel up.
When the bloom reached me, I turned it over and discovered a sort of gaily striped beach umbrella as the coral seemed spun out from a lemony cream. There is no fragrance, but the lush bloom is openly sexual-looking, inviting; not surprising since all flowers are reproductive organs and their beauty is meant to attract pollinators. Butterflies and hummingbirds tend toward the red end of the color spectrum, while bees prefer blues.
But attraction has its place in creative endeavors, as well as procreative ones, and that's what the bloom makes me think of every time I look at it. It's why I buy one most summers! Here's what I wrote...
All Open All
I want to be all open like
a tropical hibiscus bloom
spread wide to take in each day
like it was my only one.
I want to live inside the color coral
like flame burning but not consuming
an invitation but not a trap.
A flower is all sex--
all legs spread wide
all orgasm all setting seed.
I want to be a sower.
I want to be sown.
I want to watch the harvest
from inside the root.
I want to send up bloom
after bloom after bloom--
each day every day a gift
that opens a dying world.
I think it's important to mention a little horticulture (and put my master gardening training to use): To pick a flower does not destroy the plant or cut short a bloom's life. In the case of hibiscus, you can actually prolong the flower's beauty for several days if you float it in a bowl of water. (And it makes a gorgeous centerpiece too!)
You see, a plant is all about producing seed to ensure its future, and seed is the fruit of a pollinated flower, which only ripens as the bloom dies. Left on the plant, flowers may turn to seed quite rapidly and stop blooming. So picking off withered blooms isn't just about aesthetics; it actually encourages the plant to produce more flowers.
We unintentionally cut short the plant's beauty-giving ability by not picking, in the same way we miss out on something very special in our human lives by not giving, by not risking, by not being open.
Here's wishing all of you the courage to be all open all.