Hello Again, World

Apologies for my recent absence. I was hiding from 2020. And half of 2021, it seems.

The dumpster fire of last year brought some major life changes. Some good, some shit. I’ll babble about those below, if you care to know. But the thing I’m here to share, because I’m deeply excited about it: I’m back in the saddle and writing again!

Three new short stories are forthcoming. Additionally, the editors of Deep Magic, who previously honored my story “Hanging Trees” with a Pushcart nomination, recently flattered me once again by selecting it for their Best of Deep Magic anthology … which launched TODAY! Though it’s quieter than the fast-paced speculative fiction I typically write, it’s a good introduction to my short fiction. If you’ve read some of my other stories, this one is a nice change-up, stylistically. The anthology is now available on Amazon (free if you have Kindle Unlimited).

What I’m even more giddy about: I’m once again at work on my debut series, Hangman. Book I is complete, soon to go on submission, and without a doubt the best thing I’ve written. And that’s only if I don’t count Books II-IV, because they’re still growing from baby outlines to adult novels (no, not adult novels. Sorry.). Each installment is better than the last, and the saga as a whole is shaping up to be the story I always wanted to read, but never found. Probably because it is super weird! But hey, weird is a synonym for original, right? Right!? Yeah …

As for those life changes:

The Bad: A shitstorm of 2020-related stress, the exact details with which I won’t bore you because you probably had your own, but a consequence of which was a near-complete absence of my usual love of literature—reading and writing both. I suspect there may be something to that old hierarchy of needs after all.

The Good: Brooklyn, my incredibly patient saint of a partner, who was in large part responsible for getting me through the bad, convinced me to move with her to Hawaii mid-pandemic. Though we left beloved people, trees, and birds behind, we’ve already found much to treasure here. My love of literature is rivalled by my passion for trees, fruit trees in particular, and for that Hawaii truly is paradise. Here one can regularly feast on rare tropical fruits, many of them better than anything I could previously grow in Northern Nevada’s five frost-free months.

Lunch in Hilo. Starring (clockwise beginning with yellow dragon-egg-looking-thing in top left): rollinia, mango, finger limes, durian (possibly ‘Monthong’), durian ‘Pohakulani,’ and the star of the show, the best damn fruit I know of–cempedak.

Putting the cherry on the cempedak, I started an exciting new job that satisfies my fruit obsession: I’m propagating, planting, and caring for fruit trees at a budding 60-acre rare fruit orchard and probable future arboretum (can we please call it an “arbor-eat-’em”?). I’m often consulted for tree recommendations for sites ranging from city parks and universities to small home gardens, and I almost always include at least some fruit trees. Far too often, my suggestions meet resistance from this idea that fruit trees are “too messy, and too much work.” Well, life is messy, and too much work. But it requires us to eat, so if we’re going to be planting and caring for trees anyway, we might as well select those that’ll reward us with delicious, healthy fruit, right? The answer at this “arbor-eat-’em” is an emphatic “OF COURSE!” and that’s as refreshing as white pineapple on a summer day. Plus, the office views ain’t bad:

Part of the “arbor-eat-’em” overlooking Hilo Bay. At left, ice cream beans (Inga spp.) fix atmospheric nitrogen to benefit the young Garcinia trees beneath them.

To wrap up, I’ll try to convey the feeling that inspired me to check in after far too long (again, my embarrassed apologies), and to do so I’ll lean on the wisdom of a certain variety of lodgepole pine, which knows this: Only from the ashes can a forest grow anew.

Or, perhaps more fitting to this post: last year’s rotten compost is today’s delicious fruit.

To the fruits of a new year,

~CW

12 thoughts on “Hello Again, World

  1. So happy to read this heartfelt post from where you came but more importantly to where you are heading. Truly enjoyed reading this post and looking forward to seeing you & Brooklyn with family and explore and sample your “arbor-eat-’em” in a few weeks. – Dad & Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Only from the ashes can a forest grow anew. But you’ve been making biochar this year, so the forest will be thriving!

    Glad you’re back to writing. Can’t wait to read the new novel while chomping on cempedak!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you again for the beautiful plants and seeds you shared before your parting. Some of them are currently growing, providing nourishment of the mind and bodies to many kids and adults alike in this Tahoe Basin! I met Neil, in my excitement smashed your first and last name together in a jumble that sounded something like Christophber. He politely corrected me, we both raved about you, I purchased some figs and voila, a new friendship. Thank you for this also. Much love to you and Brooklyn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Neil is great, right! Some of the best apples I’ve ever had are from his orchard. If you get a chance, try some of his ‘Sweet Sixteen’ apples–they’re unique and spectacular.

      It was truly my pleasure to share plants and seeds before moving. They couldn’t have asked for a better home. Feeding, educating, and entertaining youth with the magic of gardening … I only wish I’d learned of Farmily sooner than the few months before I moved!

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  4. Was really hoping for the adult novel, but excited nonetheless. Excited to see you in the near future, and happy you are in agreement with Maslow about those basic needs! Love you so much big brother!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hoping for the adult novel? Can you even read a children’s book?

      Just realized these jokes don’t work anymore, now that you’re officially more educated than me. Damn. I’ll get to work on that adult novel, boss.

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  5. Hi Christoph, I’m so happy to hear your are doing well and you are in your elements.
    Interesting tropical fruits, like to learn more about it.
    Please give my best to Brooklyn.
    All the best, Klaus

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wie geht’s, Klaus! Every week here I’m learning about new fruits, quite a few of which would probably do great at your orchard. If you’re not already growing jaboticaba and yangmei, those are must-haves, but there are so many more, and I’m still just getting my feet wet in the tropical fruit world. We should talk!

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  6. hi christoph!

    love this update! so glad to hear you and brooklyn are doing well in hawaii and that you found a job so well-suited to your strengths. i’m sure lots of folks are planting healthy, thriving trees because of you.

    and glad to hear the writing continues! can’t wait to see your books in print and read the sequels.

    i’ve joined/forged some writing groups to help keep me accountable lately. writing dates (forced writing sessions with good coffee and good friends) help, too. so far i maybe have only 15 pages i didn’t have before, but by the end of the year, who knows?

    again, thanks for the update!

    best, laura

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear from you, Laura! I still miss our critical plant studies at times, and our incomparable instructor even more often. Glad to hear you are writing, and am curious to hear what sort of forms it is taking. Let’s keep in touch!

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