A Yellow Portulaca OR Follow the Signs

You may have heard me say when I don’t know what happens next, I write description. Description should be lyrical and visual. It should not only include what’s palpable to the five senses, but also what feelings it evokes in your main character(s). Used in this way, setting becomes a character itself.

As I thought about this tip, a memory from writing Walk Like an Egyptian came to mind. I was describing my father’s garden at home in Boston where I grew up. I talked about the gray cement fence that was a barrier between our yard and the neighbors behind us. My Dad has a very green thumb and every inch of our yard was planted with vegetables, herbs and flowers. The fence was no exception. It had holes in the top of it. My Dad filled the holes with dirt and planted portulacas there. They sprouted up multi-colored from the top of the wall for all to see. Portulacas are small flowers that come in a rainbow of colors.

After I finished this description, I walked out of my house in Sedona to pick up my mail. I walked past a large cement flower pot that was at the top of my fence. As I walked by, I thought I saw a yellow flower in the pot. I did a double take. I had never planted anything there and had never seen anything grow there.

I looked into the planter again and rubbed my eyes. There, in the middle of this previously empty flower pot, was a single yellow portulaca! I couldn’t believe it. I even went so far as to go back inside and Google the flower to be sure I remembered it correctly.

Yup. There was a yellow portulaca in my flower pot! I took that as a sign that my story was progressing in the right direction. The Universe can give us some pretty unmistakable signs if we are paying attention. So… keep writing and look for those signs around you that tell you you’re on the right track.

Corinne’s novel, Walk Like an Egyptian is available at Amazon.com or from Llumina Press.

Check out Corinne’s Facebook Fan Page for tips for beginning writers.

Follow Corinne on Twitter @CorinneCasazza

Visit Corinne’s Web site: http://www.CasazzaWriting.com

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One Comment on “A Yellow Portulaca OR Follow the Signs”


  1. Nicely said, Corinne! My younger daughter, Caitlin, used to plant portulacas with her grandparents, my parents. We were always amazed that around age 2 she could pronounce that word so well.
    Good memories and, for you, a definite sign from the Universe! Hope to see you on Dec. 9th (?) for Kevin’s swan song at YS.
    Hugs, Priscilla


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