Xylem and an X Man

Thursday, April 28, 2011

xy·lem - noun Botany . a compound tissue in vascular plants that helps provide support and that conducts water and nutrients upward from the roots, consisting of tracheids, vessels, parenchyma cells, and woody fibers.
No, I’m not going to talk about flowers and such, I’m just going to allude to their make up. Like the xylem in plants, the human vascular system is riddled with blood vessels that carry life giving fluids through our bodies.

Every bit of knowledge we gain about writing acts in the same way.  We study craft books, attend seminars, read endless articles, and some of us have degrees in writing. However, all of this knowledge is a waste of time if it isn’t used in some way. It’s one thing to learn new things and quite another to apply knowledge in such a way as to enrich our writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t take a scatter-shot approach with literary devices in my manuscripts, but if I find something useful to my story, I definitely try to make it work. For example, I was fascinated when I found out how to structure my sentences in such a way that I didn’t need to add he said/she said. Since then I’ve learned tons of stuff. I don’t use every bit of learning all the time, but the implements in my writing tool box are like the xylem in plants, breathing life into my sentences and suffusing my prose with meaning.

How do you work all the shiny new stuff you learn into your writing? The deft hand method or the leaden-foot-on-the-gas syndrome?
I’m thowing in Xa·vi·er 'cause I have no X foods and it’s the name of a scrumptious character in my WiP. This is one time when I didn’t look up the meaning of the name before I used it. I just thought it fitting for the male lead. Strange thing about this particular novel – both male and female leads have saintly names, however, their actions are anything but…
Anyhow, this guy wears locks and in my mind's eye is a combo of the guy on the left and the guy below. 

Meaning according to Dictionary.com
1.  Saint Francis ( Francisco Javier; “the Apostle of the Indies” ), 1506–52, Spanish Jesuit missionary, especially in India and Japan.
2.  a male given name: from an Arabic word meaning “bright.” 


  1. Great analogy and clever Z choice today!

  2. What a great post, and a wonderful analogy.
    Love the sound of your Xavier character, and the pics alone make me want to read more about him!

  3. Laura, thanks. I kinda had to rack my brains, considering the limited number of X words. :D

    Julie, thanks for stopping in. Xavier is indeed a hottie in my mind.

  4. Everyone found x's except me...:( (I had to cheat). Great Xavier character, yummy!

  5. Lauracea, I thought I'd have to cheat too, but then I decided to make something work.

  6. I really like how you have used the letter x. I like the thoughts and the importance of using what we learn. I find I need to take a step back and slow down so that I can use it.

  7. I love getting those "a-ha" moments in writing. Sometimes it's a challenge not to go crazy when you discover a cool, new technique.

  8. Love the yummy men pics! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. I'll have to share this post with my friend who is expecting her second child. Her husband likes the name Xavier. Until today, I haven't given this name any thought, then I hear about it twice within a few hours. LOL!

    All the best with your WIP! :-)

  10. Josh, yeah, it does take a while to assimilate new stuff and decide how best to use.

    Janel, I know how it is to get excited over something new and cool.

    Trisha, yes, nice guys.

    W2W, no problem. Must be an omen. A good omen, I'd like to think. :D Thanks for the good wishes.

  11. Wonderful post for X.
    Beautiful analogy for life.
    I am following your blog.

    Please do stop by my blog and if you like, please follow it.

    With warm welcome,



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