‘if you just had the time’ contest: win an advance copy

TOMORROW’S A BIG DAY: I MAKE MY FIRST MINI BOOK ROADTRIP, to visit with members of New England Independent Booksellers Association and officially begin promotional activities for “And I Shall Have Some Peace There.” The booksellers at the trade event will get to read a galley of “Peace.” Would you like to get your hands on a copy now, too, months before it’s “out”? Let’s mark the kickoff together with a giveaway: a chance to win a so-called Advance Reading Copy—not something you can even buy, and in very short supply! How to enter:

Entries must take the form of a comment that answers this question (or tries to, since it’s something I pondered a long time before moving to my garden to start writing again at the end of 2007):

Did you ever want to just walk away—push back your desk chair and do something else, whether every day or just another day or two a week? What would it be?

The Rules

Entries close midnight Friday, October 8, with winners announced Saturday.

For a chance in the truly random drawing (I’ll use the tool at random [dot] org to pick the winner) you must:

  • comment below, and also,
  • be a subscriber to my free garden email newsletter.

It’s easy to sign up for the latter if you haven’t already, and costs nothing, and here’s what it’s like in case you are worried I’m a spammer.

After I draw the winner, I’ll verify that he or she is, in fact, a subscriber…if not, I’ll draw again.

I know, that Margaret, she always wants something, right? Well, not really—there are no ads on my sites, and even if you do sign up to qualify to enter, you can always unsubscribe if the next issue’s not to your taste. But I do want to spread the word about what I do: my garden writing, my new book, and other projects I’m excited about and hope like-minded people will enjoy. The newsletter helps me do that.

So tell us: What would you do, if you just had the time?

IF YOU NEED HELP getting the pondering started, you could watch the book’s “trailer” video, or read about my story. But I have a hunch you know what I’m talking about: just wanting a little more time each day, week, year to find some peace.

Categoriesmy memoir
  1. ann says:

    I have time do do anything I would like. Most of all I need to make use of time and accomplish tasks that I put off and then spend time worrying they are not done.
    Time will always be the same and I will be the one who has gone. If I had only this day left to live in this time on earth, I would spend it in my garden.

  2. Kristi says:

    If I had more time I would try not to spend it online. :)

    Interesting little query. My family “walked away” recently, we have spent the subsequent time trying to determine whether it was worth it.

    If I had more time I would be a little more thoughtful and deliberate in everything I do.

  3. Johanna says:

    I would start a project and carry it through to the end. My erratic work schedule always interrupts my “flow” and innumerable piles of half-baked projects crowd my house.

    What would that project be? Quilt? Book? Dog bath? Rebuild the vegetable garden? Rebuild the barn doors? Finish painting the craft room?


  4. Lisabeth Davis says:

    I would try to remember that I don’t have to garden every square inch in my new paradise (I have started on my fifth garden – this one in rural northern New Mexico); but having the best soil I have every experienced has led me down a path of unending work – planting, weeding, harvesting, dead heading, freezing, planning. I would take time to see – really see – the world around me, paint more, read more, write more. I would become a saunterer, talk to my chickens, walk the sheep along with the cats and dogs, become less driven.

  5. Carolyn says:

    With my newest obsession of making eating more wholesome and trying to learn to cook, I would spend at least one day a week my Italian day. I would make batches of tortellini from scratch (just like my grandmother would), I would also make a few pizzas from scratch and put them in the freezer.

  6. Cara says:

    I would be able to garden regularly and not on frenzied week-ends….and I would have time to sift all my lovely compost. I also have a fantasy about a well-organized tool shed.

  7. kate says:

    Time, time, time. the biggest problem in my life.
    But the first thing I would do with extra time is clear out the clutter in my life: things I don’t use I’d donate, give to someone who’d enjoy them, take stall at he flea market ad sell some of it (hopfully) and then go t all th placesi haven’t had time for until now: India, China, deepest Africa.
    So many things to do, so little time.

  8. Bren says:

    I’m a huge fan of your blog and it would be an honor to get one of the first copies of your book.
    Best Wishes and keep inspiring people to get in the garden!

  9. SusanB says:

    I would listen to my soul when it beckons for peace and solitude. Many a day as I walk through my gardens before heading out to my 20+ year job in the high-paced field of technology, I stifle the longing and beckoning of my soul as it calls for a shift back to nature. I tell my soul to be quiet, not yet, maybe tomorrow. Several years ago I came to the realization that my life feels empty and I am not living out my calling and have traded my person, passions and creativity for a career, money and material things. After a few personal losses during my life, I began the realization of what is truly important and believe those painful times have allowed me to learn and grow. Due to an especially hectic work schedule this year, with long days often working into the wee hours of the AM, I ignored my gardens. I was drained both physically and mentally. Usually dressed in the finest mulch and well manicured, this year’s perennial gardens were surrounded by weeds and had to fend for themselves. Each day as I drove past on the way to work and again upon my return, I took a quick glance. To my surprise, the perennial gardens did quite well. They bloomed fervently. In my newest garden, coined the Saint Francis garden after the statue that presides there, I felt almost as though they were giving me something in return. Somehow they understood. Through the weeds and leftover mulch, they bloomed and continued to persevere. I felt these were gifts, in return for the care I provided in years past. They agreed to wait for me, but will not be able to wait forever. Surely next year they will require care and attention. My passions, gardening, writing, sketching and picture taking, are all inspired by nature and I am currently working on a few ideas that will allow me to merge those passions into a small business. I imagine I will still work long, arduous hours, but this time they will be for me and for something in which I am passionate. My greatest fear is that I may lose this calling. In November I expect to complete a major commitment at work and pray I will then find the courage to believe in myself enough to make the decision to leave this lifestyle for a simpler way, a way in which I can feed my soul with peace and become “me” again.

  10. Judy says:

    Well, I actually did have an amazing time when I felt as though I was just going to keep on walking and not return to desk or job or “home”. I was backpacking in Carmanah Provincial Park in British Columbia with a group of students as faculty and guide. After being a wee bit off the trail and refinding it I became so bemused that I felt I could not leave. the feeling was one of being so at home or at one that nothing else made sense or mattered. I was totally at ease with my decision and called another faculty person aside to let him know of my experience. He said he’d go on with the group and I could have the time I needed — whatever it turned out to be. I did rejoin the group, but honestly, I don’t feel as though I ever left that relationship with the earth. Corny? But true. and blessings on Andy for being present for me then — and now.

  11. Josie says:

    I would work on the art of just “being.” Helping to teach my four kids how great it is to actually just sit in the garden and look around; really look around. I would show them how its ok to be what they think of as bored and to treasure that time and use it to day dream and absorb things around them. I would retreat to our land in Ithaca and savor all the vegetables and sniff all the flowers. I would just be.

  12. Nancy says:

    If I had the time (and the money), I would live somewhere in northern New England in a small town. I have my own mini farm with 25-50 acres and grow all my own food in my garden. What I couldn’t raise and grown myself I would certainly buy locally. I would relish this life of peace and hard work with my husband, who joins me in this dream.

  13. Katie Pence says:

    I have a pretty ideal life.Gardening at work, creating huge gardens for the last thirty years at a Buddhist monastery.Gardening at home, acre of veggies, fruit trees, chickens, horses.
    If I had enough money, I’d create more, cabins here for workshops. Hire Margaret for a website design.Beautiful brochures and materials to teach gardening classes.Hiring help for all these projects. Build the house(foundation’s done).Create beauty.
    Try to work to change the laws to help rebuild rural America.Make it like in England, you can have visitors,sell them scones and tea,your own canned jams and pickles, bread, without having to have a commercial kitchen. Butcher meat to share with locals without having to be inspected by the FDA .Not have to worry about permiting , insuring just so you can teach a class on gardening or have interns to your farm.

    Just have more fun with my husband,kids, friends. Take the time to enjoy all the riches we already have.

  14. Cori says:

    If I had the time…I would move entirely off the grid, and spend my days aligned with dawn and dusk, the seasons and the weather. I would steep myself in dailiness and routine, establishing rhythms of work and rest. I would garden, work, read, knit and sew and welcome anyone who wanted to share the peace of ordinary daily life with me.

  15. carol says:

    if i had the chance i would move back to the country find a little cottage, raise some chickens, have a beautiful garden , some cats and a dog. , i would spend lots of time with my son and my daughter and just enjoy the fresh country air and all that nature gives me. i had it once i would love to get it again.

    1. Margaret says:

      I admit my negligence, Anne; sorry. And the winner is (was):

      Teri Deger. Congratulations! There will be another advance-copy giveaway at the start of each month…or maybe more. :) Back soon with the next one…

  16. Lindy McLain says:

    I would love to live in the Portland, Or area. My daughter lives there and talks of the wonderful, cool weather………beautiful scenery…….laid-back people. That sounds wonderful to me. But, I wouldn’t want to live in a neighborhood. I would want to live in the woods surrounded by birds, animals, sounds, sweet smells. Ahhh….take me away.

  17. Bernie says:

    If I had more time I would visit more gardens in Richmond and around Virginia. I’d also re-visit some I haven’t seen in a few years – Mount Vernon,Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg. I would certainly volunteer at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and learn as much as I could from the staff. I must also do something I have been comtemplating for a long time,ie,spend two days at Biltmore in Ashville,NC. One day to tour the gardens and one day to tour the house,WW( wife willing ).

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Bernie. WW made me laugh! I haven’t been to those locations in years, but have good memories of all of them. Thanks for reviving them.

  18. Margaret Murphy says:

    Why do you often see a smaller bird accompanying/chasing raptors in


    PS Will I be entered in the Raptor Book Give – Away?

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