“My mother recently gave me two plants (Shel and Roald) as a gift. I didn’t particularly want them, as I don’t like tending to things. But here we are. I find them to be at once demanding and frustratingly sensitive. To water them is to overwater them and not to water them is to involve yourself in a willful act of murder. You get all sorts of advice from people. Everyone is the constant gardener, and will inform you as to why that one leaf is bending this way and that, or why its edges are brown. It can all be somewhat overwhelming, so I simply do my best and follow my instincts. I try not to worry. Which is the nature of writing so much of the time. The plants have shown me a literal manifestation of the patience one should have toward one’s work. Tend to it daily, but don’t worry too much. Don’t force anything. Give it space to mature on its own. Slowly but surely, it will grow.
Shel and Roald are thriving, and they are like active symbols at my side reminding me to carry on with my work. I couldn’t be a prouder dad. And my stories? Difficult little things. I remain patient. They’ll come along in time.”
—Nathan Harris, author of The Sweetness of Water (Little, Brown, 2021)