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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If a tree falls in the forest ... should it be used to make the paper for my novel?

I’ve been working on a novel for the past year and a half, a process which has made doing any kind of creative writing here in this space more and more difficult. I’ve kept up with my book-to-movie blog at but that’s a very different kind of writing. When giving out factual information, I don’t require inspiration. 

Now I’ve finished the book and I’ve begun reaching out, searching for an agent. An easy sentence to write, a horrifying, intimidating, paralyzing process to undertake. The first chapter, one I was happy with before, now strikes me as sophomoric, tedious, garbage and any number of cliche criticisms. Is it? Or is that my fear talking? I don’t know. I’m in a place where I can’t imagine my novel is worth the paper it’s written on—about 1/3 of your typical paper-suitable tree. Which is why I still can’t find the energy to get back to memoir pieces. My writing brain needs a break. 

So in lieu of a writerly post, I’m posting photos instead. If you follow me on Instagram you might be thinking, for f’s sake, don’t you share enough pictures already? Yeah, I do. But not often of trees. And I do so love trees. Not in the creepy dendrophile way where some tree huggers literally hug—and more—giant Redwoods and the like, the trees literally sexually arousing them. Not like that.

My love is more of the nemophilist variety. That very old word is new to me and means one who loves trees so much they tend to haunt forests and such. A regular Lorax you might say. Anyway, I’ve endowed one of my characters with that somewhat nerdy trait and I happen to know he’s especially fond of Sycamores because of their large, luscious leaves and beautifully peeling bark. Can you blame him?

That’s three pictures and accompanying verbiage, logging in at roughly 210 words. More than I’ve managed in quite a while. Time to look at that chapter one more time.


  1. I like trees, too! I used to take people on winter hikes at a nature center to teach them how to identify trees by the bark. I was good at it then, but it's a skill you have to keep using or it disappears.


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