He’s lean, green and on the scene.
It’s been almost four years since he first showed up in my head, his green eyes twinkling with amusement, his bare skin scented with ferns and fresh cut grass. It took me a few months to get him down on the page. And then a few years to chisel away the excess verbiage that shoots from my pen with all the vigor of witchgrass in the border. Then the long process of trying to find some editor or agent who felt the same way I did about him, and well, as the children say, let’s not go there.
But, now, at last, another spring is upon us, the cherry tree outside my window is swollen with fat pink buds, and the pace is picking up. Today is the Vernal Equinox. It’s a good time for a Green Man.My new book, Alice and The Green Man, is about a woman who belongs in a garden. It’s the story of what she learns about herself when she has to fight to save the garden she has created on an abandoned lot. It’s a love story, of course. But in many ways, the love at the heart of the story is the love of gardens, of growing things, of touching the earth and feeling its deep healing power.
Okay. Those of you who don’t garden are right now fidgetting and looking for the remote. I know gardening isn’t a passion shared by everyone. But, for those who know the thrill of it, nothing else comes close. Well, maybe sex. But it could be argued that that is just another name for gardening. You sow seeds. With luck, they grow into wonderful new living things.So, it seemed to me, as a writer, that if you put gardens and sex together in a story, you could really have some fun.
I’m not the first one to think of this, of course. But I believe I am the first one to give the Green Man a chance to show what he can do. I see my new book as a kind of hybrid. It’s a cross between The Secret Garden and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. For many gardeners, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden stands alone as a kind of rich allegory about the transformative power of a garden. But, like many books we read as children, the text remains locked inside that innocent place where only children belong. Once a reader grows up and discovers that the world isn’t quite as civilized as one might wish, it’s hard to feel at ease in a garden, however secret.In Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a truly adult classic, a woman rediscovers her own earthy passion through her relationship with a sexy man of the soil. Compared to the modern anything-goes-and-farther-than-you-would style, DH Lawrence’s lush brooding prose is probably too slow for an audience geared to the frenetic pace of Sex and the City.
In Alice and The Green Man I have attempted to break new ground, to make a secret garden for modern adults. A place to have some fun, enjoy a few moments respite from the headlines, and to feed the childlike hope that it is not too late to save the garden that is this Earth.With the mounting evidence that global warming is not some fuzzy theory but a hard fact, and that mass extinction of countless plants and animals is already underway, there has never been a more important time for readers to become gardeners and vice versa.
I do believe one person can make a difference. Maybe a small difference. But, even small differences can add up to something measurably wonderful. Planet Earth is, in essense, a small garden. Now is the time for all of us to nurture the greenness on which our lives and the lives of future generations depend.
Dylan Thomas once famously described “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower,” the mysterious power that pulses through our lives, taking us toward the unknown future. Humankind must learn to cherish this power if we are to save our planet for future generations. Now is the time for all Green Men to come to aid of the party. The Green fuse is lit.