...because fiction is our greatest escape from reality...

Killing Plants and Saving Snakes

The Redbuds are blooming everywhere!

My husband has been spending his days doing yard work. Not your normal every day kind of yard work, but leveling, laying sod, raking leaves. I’m putting raking leaves in an abnormal context simply because we have an acre covered in trees and the position of our house in the neighborhood guarantees that the ferocious Oklahoma wind brings every freaking leaf our way!

He’s also putting in yet more flower boxes for me to agonize over. I love flowers, love planting, but I’m not good at picking what works where. Plus, I really think we’re going to have to bring in dirt to mix with the red clay. (OK is famous for its red dirt. In fact, we now have a Red Dirt Book FestivalRed Dirt Book Festival. I attended as an author for Surreal Magazine last year. What does this have to do with dirt you ask? Is Rinda going off on yet another tangent? Yes. Deal with it. See these shirts?

They were dyed with Oklahoma Red Dirt. No one knew you had to wash the suckers over and over before wearing. Red Dirt stains the skin… can you say reverse farmer’s tan anyone? Luckily, I was warned! )

Anyway, last year, I spent months barely keeping everything alive. I’m too absent minded to care for plants properly. My husband calls them victims… Seriously, during a walk through a local home supply store, he pointed to a section of plants and said, “One. Two. Three. No, many victims! Hahahaha.” ( I blame Sesame Street for this. )

This morning, he started the yard work early. I did my usual and went in to my office as soon as the kids left for school. I can’t even wait for my required workout or even to get dressed. Pathetic. So, I’m working on a short story set in the deep south and I’m debating whether or not to cut this snake out of the story. He keeps showing up, but one of my critique partners recently wrote a southern story with a serpent, so… you get my drift.

Hubby is raking leaves outside my office window. He taps on the window and holds up a margarine container. What do you think he has captured in that thin, plastic? Baby copperheads. A nest of them just outside my window.

So, what do you all think?
Strange otherworld message?
Leave the snake in the story?
Or… For God’s sake, Rinda, it’s just a snake — why do you make everything “about” something?

A link about Copperheads for your pleasure. Copperhead Snake Page

Oops! Forgot to share today’s music. I’m in a mellow sort of mood. I’m also going to share links to Emusic. com. This is a legal way to find and download great music. I pay a monthly fee and can download an entire CD or just tracks if I like. The bands place their music on the site themselves and link to them. And hey, if anyone decides to give emusic a try, tell them I sent you. I get 50 free tracks and you get 25 free just for trying!
theAutumns.com (Their official site) And the emusic site is The Autumns, MP3 Album Music Download at eMusic This is mellow Indie rock. Some call it shoe-gazer. It is, however, seductive, lovely and compelling.

Without Gravity – Official Site – Beautiful Son Okay, I sent you to the video page. Go to the left and click on the Beautiful Son video. If you like mellow, sometimes folksy ethereal and beautiful music, you’ll like Without Gravity. I wrote an entire writing piece inspired by the song Without Gravity which will be in the upcoming OWFI magazine. 🙂 Oh, and the emusic site for more clips is here. Tenderfoot, MP3 Album Music Download at eMusic


  1. March 31, 2006    

    Hmmm, I see lots of similarities between us at the moment, Ms. Elliot. My number one fan just finished adding a large addition to our house (it nearly doubled the square footage) and now the yard is a mess. We have an acre and a quarter, and just about the only things to survive the big upheaval were my bulbs. They’re coming up, but no blooms yet.

    Anyway, we now have a huge new flower bed, that’s going to have to have some topsoil mixed with the clay, and it’ll have to be lined, and bordered, and planned. I have the inspiration, but not the time. Blah.

  2. March 31, 2006    

    (1) I would have assumed that manufacturers would have been able to synthesize the red clay color. I guess that’s why I try not to assume.

    (2) To many Southerners, snakes are almost larger-than-life figures, harbingers of Satan, evils with whom one cannot negotiate, only destroy.

    My grandfather, an Alabama gentleman (who had told me numerous times not only his feelings about snakes, but how high the feeling ran for five generations of my family), came by to pick me up as I was finishing some farmwork. He watched as I stopped the tractor, picked up a garden snake, and moved the beastie out of harm’s way. Grandpa asked why I stopped, I told him.

    For me to have intentionally spared the snake was beyond Grandpa’s comprehension. He chastized me for not taking that big tractor and “busting that snake up like a wienie.”

    I guess what I’m saying is that the snake adds a semiotic potency to any story set in the Southeast. Whether you want to deal with that or not is what your decision is, I reckon.

  3. March 31, 2006    

    There is a huge, noisy truck delivering more sod as we speak, Rachel. But, the hubby has asked some people to come out and draw us a new design for the flower beds in the front. They’re large beds with towering Blackjacks growing out of them. If these guys even suggest cutting down the trees like the last ones did… They said the trees blocked the beautiful windows on the house. Their priorities are for shit. Cut down gorgeous, living trees for windows??????

    X-Dell, he let the baby snakes go in a field. (g) My husband did kill a larger copperhead he found last year because it was too close to our eight-year-old son. Of course, I didn’t want it to bite him, but it didn’t deserve to die just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The hubby learned that it’s better to humor my, trap and release. This morning he didn’t even ask.

    As for the red dirt shirts. They intentionally used our dirt to celebrate the first Red Dirt Book Festival. They haven’t done it again. LOL! I have one of the shirts and it’s a beautiful color.

  4. March 31, 2006    

    I meant, humor me. I’m typing too fast.

  5. March 31, 2006    

    I certainly empathize with the copperheads, their poisonous. The last thing you’d want is for a child (especially your own) to pick it up and say “Ooh, what a pretty snake!”

    I see, so they did the red dirt coloring as a gimmick. Had you not told me that, I might have guessed that this method of dying might have been responsible for certain terms and phrases of American English.

  6. March 31, 2006    

    Oops, “they’re poisonous.”

    See. This typing too fast thing is contagious. Premature clicking on the publish button is worse.

  7. March 31, 2006    

    I do that “their” thing all the time. My other one is its. And I know the difference…

    Certain terms and phrases, eh? Do share.

  8. Jen Jen
    March 31, 2006    

    If the snake keeps slithering in, he probably needs to be there.

    (Hi. I found the way to your blog from the comments in Jenna’s Hot Digity blog.)

  9. March 31, 2006    

    There are 4 things which will stop me in my tracks:
    ugly spiders (not small ones)
    and poison ivy.

    I will move my garden or sell my house before I will confront them. If they want the space, it’s theirs.

  10. March 31, 2006    

    Today I killed a wolf spider with an eraser. I just picked up the pencil and jabbed him. He was on a box I needed to move and was in my way. Sorry spider. (Ok, I kill roughly 10 spiders a week, I’m bad)

    I have intentionally ran over a tarantula with our riding lawn tractor.

    X, the dirt in Alabama, where we lived, was redish as well. I’m in Oklahoma now and miss AL more than you could ever imagine. Snakes and all. 🙂

  11. March 31, 2006    

    I say kill all snakes. I hate them, I am deathly afraid of them, I cannot even look at pictures of them. Seriously.

    Several years ago, we went to the zoo, and I always avoid the reptile house, even though I like lizards and love frogs. However, this particular visit, my older sister convinced me to walk through, and she would hold my hand.

    I know people must have thought there was some wacko kid in there because I would squeal and groan as I turned corners and would come face to face, so to speak, with a snake. Thank god the Cobras were not on display for some reason. I do hope it wasn’t because they couldn’t be found. Yikes!

    Anyway, I made it through, and I ain’t never going back!

    Kill all snakes!!!

  12. April 1, 2006    

    I don’t kill snakes. I don’t kill spiders. Well, I’ve killed fiddlebacks. Those things can hurt my children and I found a nest of them in my little boy’s closet.

    I accidentally stepped on a big wolf spider once with my bare feet. I will never forget all those babies it had been carrying on its back… they scattered and went everywhere. All over me. Oh, I can’t even write about it!

    My teenaged daughter loves snakes. We found a tiny ringneck in the flower bed and she walked around with that little guy wrapped around her fingers for days. We finally convinced her to let it go because she’d taken it to school and the teacher nearly killed it accidentally. We convinced her it was wild and would hate being trapped. Told her that maybe we’ll get her one that had been born in captivity.

    Last year after Shelia’s wedding, Ammanda and I sat up until three talking in my garage. I thought I’d walk through the house in the dark and heard this tap, tap tap in the hallway. Flipped on the light to see I’d nearly gotten personal with a scorpion. Now, those things are kind of creepy.

  13. April 1, 2006    

    Hi Jen!

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