Word Diets and Pink Polka Dot Geraniums | PITH + VIGOR

Rochelle Greayer

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Hey There! I’m Rochelle Greayer. I’m a garden designer on TV and IRL. I’m also an author and entrepreneur who thinks she can save the world by teaching everyone a little something about landscape design.






Word Diets and Pink Polka Dot Geraniums

I’m on a word diet.  It’s just like Atkins, but instead of eating steaks slathered in butter, I have to string together two thousand five hundred original words a day, for 30 days.  I’m purging all inhibitions, negative thoughts, procrastination tactics, and lame excuses.

At the age of 43 I’ve finally come to the conclusion that all those people who say you shouldn’t diet just need to shut up and mind their own business.

Some of us need weird diets – because they actually work. I need simple straightforward rules that strip away all the decision-making  so that my brain can be free to do other things.  I also need goals and deadlines, and structure.  I need to simplify where I can so that I can be all unstructured and odd and crazy creative where I want to be.

So this month I’m word dieting.  The goal, 75,000 fewer ideas and thoughts and snippets of stuff in my brain, and instead poured out on the screen.  I’ll organize it later.  Just like a regular diet I have to break it down.  For me – 1500 of those daily words are part of a novel that I started 6 years ago – these are like the chicken; hearty stuff that will stick around for a while.  They take time to digest and creating/burning them off is hard work.  Then I need about 700 a day for the next issue of P+V.  These are the greens, the vegetables that feed my brain and allow my curiosity to wander and grow.  And then the rest are here.  Blathering on about whatever is top of my brain and enjoying every minute of it. It is the desert – cause you can’t be all hard-core all the time. I love this diet, I am two days in and I already feel lighter and better.

I’ve even got a support group (Metrowest Boston NanoWriMo shout out!).  It’s like weight watchers for writers.  We even do daily weigh-ins.

Somehow I feel like my diet also needs a confessional statement to really kick it off right. Here goes: Hello my name is Rochelle, and I am a writer who has a writing problem. Instead of writing and following my own path, I’ve been taking too many classes, spending too much time watching the news (convincing myself that it is good to be on top of every horrid detail), worrying about what other people are doing and thinking and obsessing over why some of them are copying my shit from four years ago and generally not embracing my own current stories, style, and eat-my-shorts attitude.  “Eat my shorts” (Thank you Judd) – is writing mantra of the moment.


So here is desert for today (which, I voraciously consumed at 5:00 am – because you can do that on a word diet)  – Did you see the geraniums in this Domino photo spread?

I first saw this image over on SFGirlByBay and then I spent a half an hour trying to figure out what the heck variety of geranium grows that tall and beautiful in such a tiny pot and with such fantastically polka-dotted leaves and pretty pink flowers, that, of course, perfectly compliment a kick ass polka dot sofa. Because I want to order them right now and have this exact same display behind my (boring grey) sofa.

In desperation, I was just about to post the image on instagram to ask for help when, I clicked through to the original article on Domino (why didn’t I do that in the first instance? I don’t know – I guess I justly thought there was no chance that a shelter magazine would actually take the time to ID the exact variety of geranium).

And I was right  – they didn’t name the geranium, but they did, thankfully, name the artist. This is the home of ‘it’ girl and artist Kate Schelter and the paper plants were made by Livia Cetti.  What I’d really like is for Livia to take up plant breeding because I want geraniums that don’t grow in neat little mounds (why are all breeders obsessed with a “neat habit”? I’m over it with neat and tidy habits.) Bring on the big old polka dot geraniums that grow a little wild!

Livia  has a book (The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers ).  I might need to buy it now.  Because I seriously want to grow pink polka dot paper geraniums.



The clue that tipped me off about the paper was the hollyhocks from the same photo shoot.  They are adorable – but no.  No, hollyhocks will not grow like this and be all picture perfect in a container in your house for a photo shoot.  It’s is not happening.  If you want this (and who doesn’t?) we are going have to resort to paper. I’m totally fine with that – what about you?




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  1. Linda Palmer says:

    Very nice information. Motivating for sure.

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