Featured Post

A + for The A-Word: The most authentic look at Autism on screen.

Image
I worked for several years with a succession of autistic children—which mostly means boys—kids who were mainstreamed in regular education classrooms, with a classroom aide assigned to shadow them. That was me, the shadow. 

We also lived next door to a family who had an autistic son who became one of our son’s closest playmates, until we moved away at the end of elementary school. Chris, with his funny idiosyncrasies is the source of some very sweet memories, as well as moments of high drama. That’s what you get with autism, children who can be deeply involved when their needs and passions are directed and shared but who can sometimes find it frustrating when those needs are brushed aside. 

It’s typical for an autistic child to want to talk about dinosaurs—or whatever the passion is—and be frustrated while the rest of the kids have moved on to another topic. The autistic child is focused on that stegasaurus and exactly how cool it is, just not quite getting that the others don't shar…

A tree is a tree is a tree: finding a passion

I know I haven’t shared anything new here in ages, the truth is I’m working on a novel and with a book-in-progress on my mind, my creative spirit is otherwise engaged. 


There is one aspect of the writing process I’d like to share here, to see what you think, and that’s the interest that the main male character, Jacob, has in botany, trees in particular. Part of the pleasure of writing the novel has been following his passion, learning more about trees myself. Like my female protagonist, Alex, I also find myself noticing different kinds of trees everywhere I go. The stunning pink flowering tree pictured above with its hibiscus-like blooms is an example of the Silk Floss tree a South American relative of the Kapok tree. This one caught my eye as I was walking by the Pan Pacific park here in Los Angeles in early October. The tropical species does really well in Southern California’s generally warm and dry climate. While they’re clearly gorgeous, the Silk Floss tree is more than just a pretty face, they’re also known for their large seed pods which contain a bounty of cottony fiber that’s used in cold-weather gear like parkas as well as pillows! 

While today’s botany lesson hasn’t found its way into the novel (yet), I have a hunch Jacob would know all about it.



In case you were curious, Jacob’s passion for trees is NOT to be confused with dendrophilia, indicating a sexual attraction to trees. His is the perfectly normal appreciation a nature lover might have for the leafy bowers, the vast differences in types and shapes of leaves, the varying textures of tree trunks, without being twisted into something sordid and ugly. But for those who do find the eye catching flowers of the Silk Floss tree something of a turn on, I give you this image of the tree’s thorny trunk! Mother Nature’s stern warning, just you try it buddy!

While nothing is set in stone, I’m enjoying discovering more of both of my characters’s passions. How much will stay, remains to be seen. 


Comments

Popular Posts

Marching for THEIR Lives in Santa Monica

My Mother’s Voice [memoir]

A + for The A-Word: The most authentic look at Autism on screen.

Queen Me

Peter Panned: The Peter Pan Statue in Kensington Park