What Would Your Trees Say About You?

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Sometimes readers of Perdita ask me if I’m part of a writing group. I’m never quite sure how to answer this question because although the answer is yes, I feel as if I belong to several different kinds of writing groups. Of course I have human friends and editors who have been critical to the writing process, offering support and critiques that I am very gratefully for…but I also have had a group of three trees in my backyard who were steadfast friends and inspiring presences during some very long and difficult writing moments.

Because I was working and raising a child  at the time of writing the novel, I usually did a good deal of my writing between the hours of midnight and 3 am. I’d also write on weekend afternoons when Stephen generously took our son on an “adventure” and gave me writing time—alone. Sometimes I’d hit a serious wall: it’s called writers block but it might be better described as writer’s despair. Why was I doing this? Would the novel ever be published? Would readers understand and appreciate some of the things I was trying to do?

And by the way, what exactly was I was trying to do?

At moments like these I would go downstairs and out to the back deck to be with my trees. In all of the seasons, there was always something beautiful, evocative and mysterious about each one of them. I would watch my three trees, seeming to trust in their own beauty and stirring with an unselfconscious grace as the wind moved in and through them.

In my novel, Marged Brice also converses with trees. Dumped off in a nursing home on the remote Bruce Peninsula and claiming to be 134 years old, Marged weighs whether or not she should trust a friendly but battle-scarred historian. Finally she asks him for a character reference from his trees. “What would your trees say about you?” she demands of Garth Hellyer. “Would your trees tell me to trust you?”

“Oh, I think my trees would give me a good reference,” Garth replies, surprised at how easily the answer comes to him.

I’ve often wondered what my trees would say about me….

Or what about other peoples trees?

Maybe yours?

If given the chance, what would the trees you encounter each day say about you?

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Lighthouses      Writing with the Wild: the Setting for Perdita

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