Q. What’s an evergreen?
A. In botany, an evergreen is a plant that is, uh, always green.
In writing, an evergreen is an essay that you write once and can bring to life again in future years.
Plant a tree. Watch it grow. If you plant a Japanese maple or Northern red oak, you can appreciate its life during spring, summer and fall. But if you want to watch a tree flourish all year, every year, plant a gold arborvitae or a densiform yew.
* Every Valentine’s Day you wonder about flower-delivery people. How do floral recipients react to a delivery of 2 dozen red roses? Does anyone actual kiss the person handing over the sterling vase with 3 long-stemmed roses? Do men or women tip more?
To report this story, get yourself a one-day gig delivering for a florist near you. Write the story immediately, while it’s fresh as a daisy. Then file it until February 1 of next year, when you can pitch or send it to a local daily or weekly. If you have a monthly in mind, tell your calendar to remind you to ship the piece before Labor Day.
And the following year, assuming you have retained copyright, sell it somewhere else. You can revive many essays for years to come.
* Every year, on the second Sunday in May, you regret that you haven’t written that Mother’s Day article that’s been percolating. TIP: Write it now. Send it to your favorite – or desired favorite – editor on, say, April 20.
Several of my essays, published ages ago, have seen new life as evergreens in digital media. These days, with online payment at zilch, publication with links to your website are nearly worth cash.
Happy Bosnian emerald arrow pine to you.