It’s an unfortunate that after spending days or weeks writing a scene that during the editing it has to be cut. But sometimes as much as the writer (in this case me) loves the scene, it’s not always what’s best for the book.
Below you’ll find one of my favorite scenes when Katie first spots the giant sunflowers and Doc explains the origin of the name.
The sunflower myth.
When people talked about farms or farming, Katie always found it hard not to imagine old men in overalls sifting through fields of corn. Stopping every now and then to grab hold of an ear of corn and proclaim in the most hillbilly accent possible, “Now ‘dat dere is a fine lookin’ vegetable.” What lay in front of her, though, was nothing of the sort.
Tobacco, cotton, soybeans, corn, hay, wheat, peaches, apples, and peanuts. Katie knew those were the top crops in South Carolina. Doc did not grow any of those.
Instead, for as far as Katie could see, there were row upon row of giant sunflowers.
“Do you know how sunflowers got their name?” Doc said as he walked towards them. Doc was probably over six feet tall; when he went to touch the soft yellow petal, he still had to reach up over his head.
“Their scientific name is Helianthus, but that’s actually a combination of two words. Helios, the Greek word for sun, and Anthos, the Greek word for flower.”
Katie continued walking. Just a few steps past Doc, a trail opened up among the flowers. As she stepped in between the thousands of flowers, she couldn’t prevent the words from escaping her lips. “They’re beautiful.”
She looked closer, from one flower to another. They looked identical, but it wasn’t their uniform color, height, or size that caught her attention. It was their orientation. Every single flower was pointed in the same direction.
Doc continued walking through the manmade trail and Katie followed slowly behind.
“Did you ever notice that they all face the same direction?” she asked from several feet behind him.
Doc stopped momentarily and pulled the bandana from around his neck to wipe away several beads of sweat from his forehead. Then he folded it back into a triangle and tied it around his neck, turning away from Katie to rest for a moment.
Katie took out her phone as he stood in the middle of the warn path, hands stacked atop one another, leaning against his walking stick, thousands of giant sunflowers on each side of him. She quickly took several pictures of Doc as he began to speak.
“’From sunrise to sunset, she follows her love
Making sure not to take her eyes off him
Not even for a second time,
Perennially in love with her love’”
Being the daughter of a poet, Katie’s father had often read to her, but she had never heard these words.“Who wrote that?”
“To be honest, I’m not quite sure. When I was young my mother used to recite those words to me. There were more from the myth, but alas, I’m old and have forgotten most of them.”
Doc smiled and cleared his throat. , Ppreparing his best storytelling voice.
“Long ago, in the days of Apollo, there lived a beautiful water nymph by the name of Clytie. Now Apollo was the son of Zeus, the king of all gods and men. And Apollo himself was a god, the god of the sun.
“Each day he would ride his chariot of gold and ivory across the skies from the east to the west. In the evening he would end his journey at the far sea on the western end and would travel back home on his golden boat. He was loved by all, but especially Clytie. She would watch him with unblinking eyes as he moved across the sky.
“Unfortunately, Apollo was in love with Daphne, the beautiful daughter of a water god, and Clytie’s love for Apollo went unrequited. But this did nothing to quench the burning love that Clytie had for Apollo. So when Clytie learned of Daphne, she stayed out of the water for days on end, not eating or drinking, just watching the sun make its daily path across the sky, turning her face as it moved so that she always caught its beautiful rays.
“She had stayed out of the water for so long that she started to transform. After several more days she was no longer a water nymph. She had changed into a flower, but more specifically a golden flower that reflected the beauty she saw in the sun back on it, always following the sun’s gaze with her undying love.”
When Doc finished, Katie found herself struggling to come to terms with the story.
“So, is that supposed to be a happy story of undying love and loyalty, or a sad story of unrequited love and tragedy?”
“What do you think?”
“I’d prefer the former.”
“So would I, Miss Price. So would I.”
What did you think?
Let me know if you liked the scene or if you’d like to see any more deleted scenes.