One of the most satisfying things I do each day is participate in the Circle of Life. Now, before you all go off and start singing Lion King songs, let me explain what I mean.
To me the Circle of Life isn’t just about one generation being born as the next generation grows old. It’s about things in life being circular, relying on each other for survival. It’s the balance of nature. It can be hugely complicated, and can be on a global level, or it can be simple and happen in your backyard.
Those who know me a little more than just an author, will know that I love veggie gardening. It is here that the Circle of Life can be most illustrated.
Fifteen years ago I brought an apple tree and planted in my backyard. It has grown, and gives me more apples than a family can ever eat. Unfortunately, most of those apples are destroyed by pests – birds, worms, and in particular, fruit fly. In trying to be organic, I don’t use pesticides in my garden. I try companion planting – where one bush attracts natural predators of the pest eating the second bush.
So in order to combat my fruit fly, I purchased chooks (chickens to you non-Australians) and placed their pen around the apple tree. The theory being, that the fruit fly larvae live in the ground. They hatch and reinfect the tree, which then drops the fruit (and the larvae eggs) to the ground for the next cycle. So by allowing the chooks to scratch around the base of the tree, they eat the larvae and decrease the fruit fly.
So for the last twelve months, my apple tree, my chooks and I have been in a Circle of Life. My apple tree has grown, watered only by the rain and occasionally my hose. It has been fertilised by the numerous chook droppings, and has fruited, pollinated by the bees.
I have helped the tree by pruning some of the branches, and placing bags over the new fruit to stop birds and fruit fly. I have also fed and sheltered the chooks.
In turn, the chooks have eaten any larvae in the ground, snails, slugs, caterpillars and other pests, and laid eggs for me. The apple tree has provided them with shade and shelter.
And then, when the fruit ripened, I picked the apples and consumed them. The apple cores were returned to the chooks for scraps. I juiced most of the apples, consumed the juice, and gave the pulp to the chooks to eat. Any apples that were spoiled were given to the chooks too.
So with some input from outside forces, but nothing particularly hard to do, the three of us have all helped each other. We have created a Circle of Life, one that if we remove a single aspect of, will create a void for the other two.
I find writing to be the same type of circle. There are circles each way I look. There are symbiotic relationships between authors, reviewers and readers. Without one of these three, the other two would not be able to work as well.
Without editors, writers couldn’t do their work. Without writers, editors would be unemployed. And without readers, there would be no need for either.
But the Circle of Life I most enjoy participating in is the Reader-Writer-Life circle. The writer takes life, sorts it, dissects it and funnels it into a book. A writer without a life to observe, is a writer without inspiration.
Readers on the other hand, participate in life. A lot of the time, the writer is able to help them with this. Whether it be comfort in the form of cheering the reader up, or perhaps helping the reader to understand they are not alone in their problems, that other people feel that way too. It is the writer that brings understanding to the reader. Writers explain, entertain and support readers. Readers read and then apply it to life, which then moves on and the writer gets more inspiration. Writers learn from life, readers learn from writers.
I now know basic French and all about American culture from writers. I know about Viking culture, Victorian manners and how it feels to travel the deserts of the world. I’ve learned about ancient cultures, new cultures and how it feels to live that life. I’ve learned about many jobs and tasks that I’ve never come across in my real life – all because of writers who share their knowledge with the world.
Another circle I enjoy is the review circle – although this is more of a tornado than a circle. Imagine this: a writer publishes a book, and ten people read it. Each of those ten people review it, recommending it to five friends, who then also read and review the book. They recommend it to five of their friends, and so on. The circle grows, spinning around and around and around.
So today I urge you to be a tornado starter. Which book have you recently read and loved? How about you feed the author and write a review?
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