Mazeppa woman writes first nature memoirColeen Johnston took on the challenge of reclaiming a neglected garden when she moved into her Mazzepa country house. The plot had been left untended for more than a year and weeds, wild plants and quack had taken control.
By: Mikayla Cota, The Republican Eagle
Coleen Johnston took on the challenge of reclaiming a neglected garden when she moved into her Mazzepa country house. The plot had been left untended for more than a year and weeds, wild plants and quack had taken control.
An unexpected chance came from the acceptance of that challenge. The experience helped her write “All the World in a Blade of Quack.”
“It has certainly been an adventure,” said Johnston about her experience writing her book.
Johnston began her career as a writer in high school and proceeded to college where she pursued a degree in English. She became a teacher and then moved away from the Goodhue County area. Johnston moved back to Minnesota in 1970 and worked all around the area until she decided to become a full-time writer in 1980.
“My first book was a garage sale penny saver guide called ‘Garage Sale Decorator: A Penny-Pincher’s Shopping and Decorating Guide’ and that was published in 1989,” Johnston said. Since then, she has created many works of nonfiction and prose, but “Quack” is her first nature memoir.
Johnston began to tinker with ideas for “Quack” when she was in her writing circle.
“A writer always has at least a dozen projects going, and I am no exception. However, while I was working in the garden and telling the other writers about my experience, I began to think to myself that it would be a good idea for a book.”
And off she went.
Johnston already had begun researching her garden and the various plant species growing inside.
“Even though I have gardened most of my life, I didn’t have near the amount of experience that I needed to tame the garden that was in my backyard,” Johnston recalled.
Johnston compiled all the information that she had accumulated and, using her experience as a writer, put together “Quack.”
“The biggest thing that I have learned throughout this whole gardening experience has to be learning about the gardening and learn to live in a wooded setting and in harmony with everything,” she said.
“Hopefully whoever reads this book will be able to find that peace that I have.”
“All The World in a Blade of Quack” can be found on Amazon.com and in major bookstores. Johnston also has a website, www.coleenljohnston.com.
She will hold a book signing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 8 at Art Splash in Zumbrota.