Charnel Bailey once told me that if a houseplant grows toward the light it’s called “phototropism.”
This must’ve been 25 years ago while we were down at LSU getting our book learning on. I don’t know how I remember that, because I’m not sure if I can recall what happened last week. My only possible explanation is that it got into stored memory before the babies ate my brain cells.
I know we weren’t in Many, because the only thing you could maybe grow in my Mama’s house is mushrooms. It’s as dark as a cave in there. She likes it like that. Hides the spider webs she says.
Not that I grew up in slovenly conditions, if you don’t count the mess in my college dorm room. Her house has very tall cathedral ceilings. If she wanted to clean it she’d need a scaffold. And, who’s got time for that?
It’s a whole lot easier just to close the blinds.
But the point is nothing would grow in the darkness. Now that I’ve supplemented my education with this writing gig, I’ve learned about more tropes– familiar story lines.
We like tropes. You can take several familiar themes: Orphan, mistaken identity, rags to riches (think the Prince and the Pauper). Now for the twist– in space, or the future, or the past. With pirates or cowboys. In a box, with a fox.
The same, but different. We’ll know it when we see it, agents and editors say. Kind of like a plant straining for the light is immediately recognizable?