Today my very first novelette publication released online for free reading! “The Orangery” is available at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
This one comes from my fascination and repulsion with women-turning-into-trees narratives. I say fascination because I have always loved trees. For years I have taken photos of beautiful trees when I travel. In college I used to find patterns in bare branches: women’s faces, mostly, and when I felt a darkness creeping in each winter, I looked to these patterns for comfort. (When I told my mom about the women I saw in trees, she said, “You see them too?” I have inherited her strange world.)
The women in mythology who turn into trees often do so to escape unwanted sexual advance or assault. That is where the repulsion comes from. Although I have always loved trees, I never felt like these mythological women were being gifted this new form. Instead, I felt like they were being punished. As if they were being told, you can either accept every advance that comes your way or opt out of a human life altogether.
In “The Orangery,” I made a place for these women-turned-trees, the Orangery of the novelette’s title, a walled-in grove watched over by a Guardian who tend to the trees’ wishes and lives out her life within the woods. But when Apollo breaks through the wall to find and reclaim Daphne, the Guardian must fight him–and make sacrifices in the process.
Read it here.
Some Photos of Trees
to both prove my point and because maybe you love trees too, I don’t know
I took a trip to the Czech Republic and mostly came home with photos of trees; this one is in the village Český Krumlov
It may look like I was photographing this tiger, but I was probably most excited by the juxtaposition of tiger and tree
Tree with arm-like branches in Oklahoma
Crumbled tree on Wood Island on Lake Texoma