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#11 BEACH MUSIC: A time of tans, blonds and hot pants

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IT WAS A TIME OF TANS, BLONDS AND HOT PANTS, WHEN THE ENDLESS SUMMER WAS JUST A SHORT WALK DOWN A HOT SIDEWALK
Beach Music, an On the Street Where I Livestories is really a tale of two cities; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Santa Monica, California. It was originally published in the LA Times Sunday Magazine.


Beach Music We came to California from Canada, with a detour to Puerto Rico that lasted one endless summer of a year. A year in which I turned 15, and my hair turned blond from living in the sun. “Psst,” the boys and men would call after me in the blue-cobbled streets of San Juan. “Psst! Hey, blondie. Psst! Hey, cutie pie.” I was devastated when my parents said we had to go, that it was time to leave the island so that my older brother, Russell, could get a first rate education. The plan was to drive cross country from Miami and settle in San Francisco so that my brother could finish high school before going on to UC Berkeley. But, once we got there in the fall of 1968, we found that …

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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