Before I grew flowers, I grew books.
Pre-pandemic, I ran a residency for nonfiction writers at an historic estate in Rensselaerville, NY (the Logan Nonfiction Program). Every day, I got to watch dozens of talented journalists weave their incredible reporting and stories into rough drafts of books, which were shared with everyone over glasses of wine and dishes of homemade tiramisu. Cue plenty of laughter, tears, and blushing faces! Months after they left the residency, I’d receive their published books in the mail (many of which had gone on to become New York Times best-sellers and receive numerous awards), and I’d think back to the days they spent in residency, stressing in my office, arguing in the restaurant about storytelling techniques, and snowshoeing around the grounds during breaks. It was heaven in so many ways, to watch these wonderful people share their life’s work with the world.
Prior to running the residency, I worked in publishing in Austin. I was in acquisitions and most of my job consisted of reading the “slush pile”—the unsolicited manuscripts that came in to us, written by hopeful authors all over the country. As a lifelong bookworm, getting paid to read was truly a dream. And after work, I’d go home and tinker with my own short stories, before falling asleep with a book next to me on my pillow.
Reading, thinking, talking, buying, and attempting to write about books has been my life for so long. And it still is a huge part of my life; it’s just that most of my leisure reading these days revolves around flowers and farming, and not so much around independent journalism in the digital age. (Something that feels right for me, to be honest.) I’ve read so many fantastic books about nature, flowers, and gardening this past year. And I’m looking forward to reading many more in 2021. This time, though—hopefully—with you!
Yep, we’re starting a book club here at Daisywild. And you’re invited to join us. We’ll be reading a combination of genres (fiction, nonfiction, how-tos, maybe even some graphic novels if I can find any flowery ones)—but all the books will be about nature, flowers, gardening, farming, floristry, climate change, horticulture, or related subjects. There are so many fantastic books on these topics out there. I’ve been creating a long list and if you have any suggestions, please let me know!
We’ll meet once at the end of every month to discuss that month’s book; and don’t worry if you didn’t finish it—we’ll keep things casual. The meetings will take place over the dreaded Zoom for now. Once the weather and Covid take a turn for the sunny, we’ll try to meet up in person—either at our farm, a park, or a local brewery. Beers and books, anyone?
For the month of February, we’ll be reading Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful by Amy Stewart. We're starting with this book because it lays the foundation for talking about the importance of local flowers. If you’ve never worked in the floral industry, it’s also a fascinating way to learn about how the international flower trade really works and gives you an eye-opening look at just how massive the flower business is! I hope you’ll join me in reading it.
Books are part of my story and they’re part of Daisywild’s, too. If they’re part of yours as well, join us! Just sign up for the email list here, and we’ll send you the meetup link at the end of the month. We hope to see you at the end of February!