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Time to slay your own dragons, ladies.

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My first kiss was an unwanted one. I was seven years old when a boy named David pushed me up against the wall outside our apartment building. Forcing his mouth on mine, his breath, hot and fusty, something sickly sweet like apple juice and milk gone sour in his gut that made me squirm. I don’t remember seeing him as I ran with my brother and the other neighborhood kids through the empty lot next door, scrabbling over the toppled trees, slick with moss, tripping over the bramble of twigs and woodsy decay, but he must have been there, his knees as scratched and muddied as ours, before he caught up with me in the driveway that ran alongside and behind the apartment building. 
As usual I’d tagged along in my older brother’s shadow. Tag, hide and seek, cowboys and indians, the games kids used to play. Outdoors, up and down the streets, no watchful mommies on red alert. Ignoring our mothers’ warnings—don’t go into the woods, don’t go into the woods—we went into the woods, woods that in fact …

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. 


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