A publishing friend of mine was up for a visit. I had invited him to speak to my college class of English majors about the book world landscape. That evening, back at the house, with my wife’s new CD playing, and before a few bottles of wine, fresh-baked bread, and bowls of pasta, I gave him the obligatory house tour.
I took him into the Florida room to show off my collection of saplings, their names and affiliations printed neatly on white index cards in my very best penmanship. He was smitten. He laid his glass of red wine down and reverentially picked up one of the Kerouac maples, holding it up to his face and twirling it around to examine all four sides.
“Little Jack Kerouac probably climbed in the branches of that tree’s parent,” I boasted.
“What’s this all about?” he asked, lowering the little silver maple, his eyebrows scrunched tightly together, scanning the row of pots.
So I told him my plan.
“Nuh uh,” he shook his head, side to side. “You’re going to write a book.”