Digging Rocks

Renovation on The Swamp continues between intermittent rain showers. With the aid of a long-handled cultivator, shovel and stiff rake, I’m leveling out the furrows in preparation for spring planting one square foot at a time.

It’s an arduous process. Although the sewer replacement revealed the majority of my yard consists of good earth, it also dredged up giant rocks created, I assume, when the house was built. According to a neighbor, my house sits on a bed of solid rock. They had to blast through that rock to build the basement. As far as I can tell, the subdivision builders then brought in dirt and, in the way of contractors, buried all the rocks eight feet down. Why would anyone dig that far to find them?

Yeah. Why?

Some of the larger rocks got rearranged by my excellent plumbers into hardscaping for a rose garden. Many of the rocks got reburied, not eight feet down, but one to two feet down, where they make a terrible racket when my cultivator bangs into them. Some of them I can dig out and move. Some of them I cannot.

More than once I’ve caught myself squatting in the dirt picking out smaller and smaller rocks in my OC quest for the perfect garden bed soil.

The silliness of the whole thing is these rocks aren’t granite. I don’t remember specifically what they’re called, but in the world of rocks these would be the “soft woods,” composed as much of compacted sand as harder matter. Eight feet down they’re fine, but exposure to the elements causes breaking, cracking and disintegration in a relatively short time for a rock. I see stress lines already forming in the rose garden border. Those rocks plaguing my future garden are also splitting and breaking down every day. At the moment, however, they are a real pain in my shovel.

I’m having the same problem with my WIP.

TT: I know. I should be editing Star of Justice since it’s coming out in April, but it doesn’t need much (I have confirmation on that) and my hard start date is March 1. That should give me time to “finish” before the predicted “brain-deadness” at work starts and potentially screws up my non-work life.

Anyway, after however long I can spend outside digging through rocks, I come inside, turn on the computer and dig through virtual rocks.

Click, click, click, bang! Where would drakken live? Click, click, click, bang! What would their caves look like? Click, click, click, bang! How would a technologically advanced race cope with “stone knives and bearskins?” It’s not like I can go to Wikipedia and look up “Kharoth, demographics.”

TT: Wouldn’t it be cool if I could? To imagine that one day my fictional worlds would be so beloved some geek fan would create a Wikipedia page for them?

Thankfully, I’ve given up on daily word count. With this kind of brain-breaking work, word count is not a true indicator of the work going into those short passages. Creation is hard.

But, like my garden, I expect great things to come. I’ll need them. If readers like Star of Justice, I hope they’ll want more of Caissa and her companions. I also hope to be ready.

About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

2 comments on “Digging Rocks

  1. As a fellow gardener (and writer) the only comment I can make on this is that any rock can be moved with a large enough lever– 😉

    For the real rocks: digging bars are great; so is a hard chunk of log 1 1/2′ to 2′ in diameter to brace the digging bar (or a sufficiently sturdy pole) against–

    If you don’t really want to do the work yourself, in the absence of friendly neighbors with backhoes or elephants, you could try contacting your nearest youth group to offer all-you-can-eat pizza to the first three-five young men and women who are willing to help you out! 😉 (it is important to limit the offer to the number of people you believe that you will actually need to avoid a stampede!)

    Mention the world-building as a topic of conversation while they’re eating the pizza–and see what develops. Teens can be great brainstormers!

    I think it will be cool, too, when you have a Wikipedia page.

  2. I don’t mind the digging (much). I figure it’s the only exercise I get, other than chasing cats. And it’s free! 🙂

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