Duelling Gardens #gardens #competitiveurges

While this post wanders hither and yon, on the subject of my apparently dwindling competitive spirit, I’ll populate it with pictures from the garden today. There is a link – sort of – at the end…

I’m a bundle of contradictions, sometimes. One of the joys of blogging, and writing is, for me, it is the antithesis of a competitive pursuit.

I have found help from all quarters and little sign of any one unwilling to share their time and ideas. Generosity seems to be the default setting and it is contagious.

Yet, for as long as I can remember I have competed at most things and, indeed, I’m sure I put down most of my successes – to the extent I’ve had any – to an instinctive need to compete.

Going right back, the Archaeologist, being the older sibling by some 16 months, was my target even thought he barely bothered to join in – mostly because from an equally early age he had a deep and ingrained certainty in his innate superiority so competing was futile; he would always be better even if, on specific occasions he appeared to come out second best.

I’m sure this inclination, be it genetic or inculcated later, comes from my dad who liked a good battle, especially of the political argument sort.

And in truth wanting to be better than (read: beat) others stood me in good stead at school and uni and in my career in the law.

It wasn’t that I wanted them to fail but for me to succeed; at least that’s how I’d try and see it but the net result was the same.

So now that I’m exposing myself (hmm, there’s a  better way of saying that) to the publishing industry and the competition out there, why is it that it doesn’t, to me at least feel like a competition?

I suppose it’s that I’m not pitching myself at the pinnacle, the tiny few who are on a  best seller list, who see themselves in relation to others in terms of sales and ratings etc.

I’m like one of the hundreds winning ten quid on the lottery; I don’t begrudge the other ten quid winners or feel especially like I’ve done better than the even greater millions who win nothing; there’s plenty enough of the ten quid pie to go round.

I heard the other day of a friend with whom I shared my creative writing course; she’s found a publisher and I am delighted for her without condition. She writes in a different genre for a start and wants a publishing deal whereas I am happy to self publish so it is apples and pears.

So when someone asked me, in reference my up coming book release, where I hoped to come in the Amazon best seller list I was rather stumped. I haven’t thought about it; selling a few copies, or giving them away, at least so a  few people will read it and maybe like it and come back for more, that’s good enough and leaves room for everyone else. Even if I made a lot more effort marketing my book, this won’t change, despite the fact that I am in effect trying to win over readers to my book at the possible detriment of other authors.

Perhaps it’s not the writing so much as me; maybe I don’t compete like I used to. Really? Nah, that doesn’t wash. Let’s face it, today I was competing with my mother and she’s been dead over seven years. That takes some doing.

Here’s why.

Her sunflowers, circa 1985

And mine today.

She may have been 5 foot 2 and shrinking and me 5 foot 10 and holding steady but I’m a way off aren’t I?

Still, there’s plenty of summer left. Huh, mum? You wait and see….


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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29 Responses to Duelling Gardens #gardens #competitiveurges

  1. Thank you for sharing – beautiful photos

    Liked by 1 person

  2. barbtaub says:

    Your mother didn’t try to beat you at uni, the law, or writing books. I think you’ve got to give her the sunflower victories…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Mary Smith says:

    Nothing in your garden looks remotely slug nibbled – how do you control them?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You son of a sunflower magician, you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Darlene says:

    That competitive gene is strong in our family! That is a good looking sunflower nonetheless. Great pictures!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ritu says:

    Gorgeous flowers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great pics, Geoff. My brother Chris did the maths; I did the art – no contest – simples.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. trifflepudling says:

    I have never met a truly UNcompetitive person! It’s part of our self-preservation kit. I definitely get a lot less worked up about stuff than I used to, though. Hmm.
    All the flowers are lovely! Whose is the first sunflower? Quite scary…
    With the writing, maybe it’s just that you write mainly to please yourself that you’re less competitive about it.
    You know, really competitive people are exhausting! The other day I realised someone was actually seriously competing over the size of a bruise – yawn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      ha! yes, there are occasions when the organ recital gets a bit competitive! The sunflower is one of the Textiliste’s and had been mullered by a bloody parakeet – five of the buggers were going at them today!


  9. The size of that sunflower head, it is HUGE!!!
    I think your garden is beautiful Geoff, you have some gorgeous flowers. I bet your mum would be impressed with how lovely it looks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Erika Kind says:

    Geoffle, this is a dream. It is simply a dream!!! I am off tomorrow and hope the weather is good enough for working in the garden. I miss it a lot!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. willowdot21 says:

    Glorious Geoff, shed a tear for your Mum or was it mine…. Beautifully written post and fabulous Photos. The book sod the ratings you are a success, an Author my boy!!💗

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your mum would have looked at the pic of you proudly showing off your sunflower and given you one of those looks – you know the slightly bemused, tolerant look of a parent with a lovely, but slightly dim child…….

    I have a theory about the non-competitive thing. While it comes for most of us as we mature, it seems to be when we work creatively things change. There’s such an innate satisfaction with the creative process that the worldly view of ‘success’ becomes obsolete. The success lies in completing the creative process for oneself. It’s nice if the final product is admired or purchased or whatever, but that is simply icing on the cake. The real result is deeply personal. Does that theory have any resonance for you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      gosh yes, that makes so much sense. Linda is like that, has been for as long as I can recall and it carries across into other areas. I suspect there are some to whom it doesn’t apply but for many I’m sure it is true

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Such a musical post written from within, Geoff. I love reading these kinds of posts where the author shares their thoughts as if speaking to just him/herself. The garden is looking great. Were those grapes? Will there be jam and wine as well as sunflower oil?

    Liked by 1 person

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