Check out SEEDS on Huff Po this AM!
Check out SEEDS on Huff Po this AM!
Listen to my dulcit tones, or read the transcript. Such a kick to be on NPR!
“In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the boats, in the shade of the Sal-wood forest, in the shade of the fig tree is where Siddhartha grew up . . .” - Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
An interesting footnote to the writing of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the fact that Betty Smith attributes its inspiration to another author on my list. She tells the story on the back of the book’s jacket cover, written in 1943: “Six years ago I was living in Brooklyn and working in a Federal Theatre show in New York City. I was held up one night on account of dress rehearsal. Walking to the subway, I passed a still-open bookstore. I knew I couldn’t afford it, but I bought a book anyhow. I took it to bed with me and began reading it. I finished it at dawn. The book inspired me, because before I went to sleep, I penciled a brief, half-page outline on the last page and headed it ‘Notes on a Novel I’ll Write Someday.’…I had absolutely forgotten I had ever written that outline. Yet, six years later in the writing of the novel, I followed that outline faithfully. The book? Thomas Wolfe’s Of Time and the River.”
“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.”
- Willa Cather
Rick’s editor here. Rick is on the road with family, enjoying a little spring break before heading over to Jackson, MS for a reading at Lemuria’s tonight, and then to N’Awleans and Garden District Bookshop. His family hit Alabama this past Friday, along with the tornados, and they had to pull off the road several times. He appeared at the Alabama Book Festival on Saturday, to a relieved crowd enjoying quiet, sunny skies.
Anyway . . . SEEDS is in bookstores today!!!! Several years of work and travel and writing and rewriting and storing tree seeds all over the house and now, it’s a book!!!! I’m so happy for Richard, a novelist who brings his eye to this subject so perfectly. And thank you to Deb, his sister, and Matt, his nephew, who provided the seed sketches for each chapter opening.
SEEDS in original trade paperback today. Please check it out.
“I think that if you shake the tree, you ought to be around when the fruit falls to pick it up.” – Mary Cassatt
The driveway resolved in a cul de sac directly in front of the mansion’s front steps. In the middle of that island was a large, mature tree with a globular canopy. There were nuts all over the ground beneath it. I recognized the species from its leaves—a California Baytree (I like to put the thick, thumb-shaped leaves in my gumbo). I started to gather them. Matthew joined me. The golden nuts, about the size of acorns, looked like giant dirty peanuts. And then we both noticed at the same time tiny seedlings about two inches tall, sticking straight up out of the soil. I didn’t know at first what they were, whether they were from the bay tree or from the redwoods or cedars around the house. I also wasn’t sure if I would get a citation for digging one up. Nevertheless, I threw caution to the wind and started spearing a little circle around one of the seedlings with my ignition key, like a golfer fixing a divot on the putting green. It was at that point that a ranger appeared from out of nowhere.
“Hoh!” I gave a shout and popped up like a jack-in-the-box.
He looked down at what I was up to. He knew exactly what I was doing.
“Those are deodar cedars,” he said, hunkering down on his haunches next to me, gingerly caressing the little seedling with his fingers. He stood up and pointed. “The parent tree is right over there.” He was a short, middle-aged man, dark haired, with a clerk’s complexion but a scientist’s expression. He wasn’t wearing his circular-brimmed hat either. His eyes smiled.
“To have a child, to plant a tree, to write a book.” --Emile Zola