"Under Janey's Garden"
By Margit Schmitt
I wrote "Under Janey's Garden" in the summer of 2006 while taking part in Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp (Providing devastatingly-accurate, always friendly critiques of your fiction -- with doughnuts). The assignment was to fill out five different note cards with story ideas from an assortment of sources, and after having chatted up the locals and admired the beautiful countryside, I was in the library, hoping to see something there that would spark enough creativity to fill out that last card. I found it in Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
“The Hare’s Bride” was not a story I’d read before. But it sparked an idea that tangled itself with everything I knew or had read about rabbits, weddings and brides, including a movie I’d once seen about Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the inspiration for
I think of the people in Boot Camp, only one liked my story right off, and she happened to be a fan of the pastoral style. Almost everyone else groaned and wrote things like “Is this for kids?” and “This is going to be precious!” in the margins. But thankfully, my readers discovered it wasn’t a fluffy bunny story after all.
I am a huge fan of gardens but I don’t have a green thumb. While I can admire the look and smell of a garden, I haven’t the first notion of how to go about encouraging one to actually thrive. If the landlord didn’t come and water my lawn on a regular basis, I’d be living in a dust bowl. But “Janey’s Garden” is the one I would grow if I could, full of flowers and vegetables and trees. A lazy, welcoming place for sunny afternoons – though my ideal would be without matrimonially-minded rabbits.