Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dreaming of Trees

I have this thing about trees. They show up in my stories as the inadequate shelter to a young victim of abuse, as the unlikely friend to a lonely the child, on the aged skin of a man as a sprawling tattoo. And in my paintings half leafless, encircled in vines, or perched on the edge of the world. They even influenced the theme of this blog.

I tend to fixate on things. I get stuck on songs, listening over, and over, and over. I have a good friend who tells me that there’s a message I need to take away from the lyrics, and when I do I'll be able to move on. Maybe it's like that with the trees as well.

I was in a small jewelry shop last weekend where I saw a necklace that featured the tree of life. The meaning of the symbol was explained this way: we are deeply connected to nature, our branches embrace life and our roots keep us grounded. I like that. Maybe the trees that show up in my work represent something as simple as that- a constant state of living with arms raised to God, while still remaining firmly grounded in this life.

Whatever this thread of connectivity means, as long as the trees show up in my subconscious, I'm willing to put them down on the page.

Do you have a common thread that runs through your stories?

Photos courtesy of Free Artistic Photos


  1. I don't have one that I've found yet. I love the idea though.

  2. You know, I didn't realize it until you said it, but I use trees all the time in my writing, too. All the novels I've written have trees that are essential to the story. I never even realized I did that. Interesting.

  3. What an interesting post! I can't think of a particular theme in mine, except that I tend toward the assumption that aliens are generally friendly, not hostile, in my science fiction.

  4. Great post.
    Your trees are my houses.
    A good thing to be self aware about.

  5. I don't know if I have a thread in my stories but I LOVE this post. I love trees too, and I especially love what you shared about the "tree of life." I think that is beautiful. What a wonderful post!

  6. Family. My characters always have complicated family relationships. And it doesn't come from personal experience. Now I have to figure out where it does come from. Hmmm.

  7. Love the picture you show of the ?woman? under the tree with the sunset, arms in the air.

    The tree of life is one of my favorite spiritual symbols.

  8. Great post!

    I think nature in all its moods is the theme that runs through my writing - comes from living between the mountains and the sea and dog walking in the rain!

    I'm glad you liked my interview with CM Villani. I'm a Platform Campaigner, too. I've been out of it a bit as it coincided with Eden's Garden being accepted and a sudden rush of edits. Great to meet you.


  9. I often put a tree or mention the sea in my stories. Recently, it's a bout of wind. Love this post.


  10. I can't say that I have a common thread - at least not one I'm aware of - but yours is beautiful. I love trees too :)

  11. Trees are fantastic opportunities for the writer. They're beautiful, giving, spooky in the right setting, and offer up scads of metaphors.

    As for my recurring theme, it's the house. For some reason the house/home becomes central in all my stories. I didn't realize that until one of my crit friends pointed it out. If I had a shrink, I'd ask about this. :-)

  12. Sarah - Hi! Now that you're thinking on it, I'll bet you find one ;)

    Kelly - Fellow writer, fellow tree lover - cool!

    Anne - Friendly aliens, that's my kind of SF.

    Mirka - Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Abby - Thanks! =D

    J.A. - That sounds like a great common thread to have; one that will provide endless opportunities.

    Beverly - I love that picture too. The photographer, Lucian Husac, is very talented.

    Juliet - Nature is great inspiration. Although, I don't know how keen I'd be on dog walking in the rain ;)

    Claudine - Wind has that magical quality of being able to evoke many moods. It can take so many forms: gentle breeze, fierce gusts, soft whispers. Sounds like a great reoccurring thread.

    Susanna - Let me know if you find one, now that you're thinking on it.

    C.Lee - A friend pointed out my reoccurring trees as well =)
    A shrink would take all the fun out of working it our for ourselves though, don't you think? ;)

  13. I have a thing about taking pictures of trees while on hikes (could be a mechanism to take a break, too). I love the example of the tattoo in your story. I don't believe I have any common threads like this, but your post makes me wonder if I do anything like this too.

  14. Hmm, I don't know if I have a theme in all my stories...but I'm sure if I looked at them all more closely I'd recognise some stuff. I do however LOVE trees, and tend to be madly into taking countless photos of them (and skies; and ocean).

  15. Water ends up in mine! I love the photos in your post :)

  16. Stacy and Trisha - I take lots of tree photos as well.

    Coleen - Water is another good one ;)

  17. I love trees. They surround our farm and I walk in them all the time and bask in their shade in the hot summertime.

    Fantastic photos. *waving*

  18. Hi Ruth, I finally am able to comment. ( The Internet is so strange!) I hadn't really thought about a theme in my novels, but now I realize that "injustice", in various forms, runs throughout all of them. I grew up in a military family, married a military man, and have come to know about injustice in all its forms, from living in 5 countries and throughout the US. My first novel is about bullying, my second about slavery, and the one I'm working on now is prejudice and intolerance...although the name certainly doesn't show that!

    Good post, Ruth, thanks (even if I'm a little late.)

  19. I love trees too. We have a nice balance of trees and open spaces on our property, and I enjoy them when I walk. I like the idea of them recurring in your work; I think it's a good thing! :)

  20. In the three novel-length manuscripts I've written, the common thread is food. I love your tree theme, though. They are such strong symbols. Great post!

  21. Hi Robyn - good to see you here =)

    Mikki - Glad you finally got the commenting gremlins under control. Wow, that's a powerful theme. Sounds like stories that will really impact the reader. Good for you!

    Karen - I agree. It's definitely a good thing.

    Dawn - Ooooo, food. That sounds like a fun theme.

  22. Trees...that's a nice common thread. I really like the idea of being a tree, with my feet firmly planted and my arms raised toward God. For me, the common thread that always appears is rain. I like rain. It replenishes and cleans the earth and almost always has a rainbow at the end. Sort of like rising up to meet the sun no matter how hard the situation.

  23. Absolutely! I love the Banyan Tree (sp?) If you've never seen one, look them up. I could sit (or hide!) in one forever.

    I'm a yoga instructor, and TREE POSE is my very favorite.

    Have you ever hugged one? Try it. They speak to you in tiny whispers with the wind. (Don't think I'm crazy, I just love trees!)

  24. That's spooky: I have a Tree of Life necklace. And earrings. (insert Twilight Zone music) :)