Recently, a gardening survey asked me to name my favorite plant. That’s difficult because I think hard about all my garden purchases. Between the shady conditions in my yard and the abundant local fauna, very few plants survive here. I considered naming something brief and showy like a stargazer lily, or something romantic and rambling like deep purple clematis. Perhaps my favorite plants are the reliable foundations of my flowerbeds, like fairy roses, that produce pale pink blooms all summer while their brighter companions have a moment of glory then fade. The appearance of many plants is enhanced by what is growing next to them.
A few days later, I found an online form that asked writers to post their favorite sentence in their manuscripts. Every sentence in my manuscript has faced numerous revisions. Only the necessary survive. Should I choose a straightforward hook or a poetic enticement? Some sentences provide necessary structure. Every sentence relies on the ones around it.
In the end, I took different approaches. For the garden survey, I chose a reliable steady-bloomer, and for the literary questionnaire, I used a poetic enticement. Perhaps I would make different decisions if asked again.