My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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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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