Do you anthropomorphize trees? I do. Can’t help it. Madrones. Redwoods. Maples. Birch. I’m so in love with trees that I’ve named the maples outside my home after my novels. Not sure what will happen when I’ve written the next novel and I’m out of trees. Traveling is great for a writer because it alters your perceptions and perspective. Home is good too, because it grounds those travel experiences. I like to travel and write, then come home and edit. I’ve kept track of where I’ve written every novel. Wild Blue Yonder began on my deck in Lexington and ended here, too, but a lot of it was written at Squam Lake, New Hampshire. A major draft of Madrone was written in Santa Cruz. Much of Bridge Across the Ocean was set, and written, on the island of Magong, off the coast of the island of Taiwan. The entire first draft of Anarchy was written in Port Launay, France (land of revolution and anarchy). Books are made of trees, and one hopes they will be as intellectually sturdy and long-lived as their forebears.
It’s fall, 1970, about a year since the end of Madrone. Nate’s short story collection has been published and he’s on a short book tour to his home city of Chicago and New York. His girlfriend Jane, their creative writing professor, Gerald “Gerry” Iron Moccasin, and his literary agent Veronica “Ronnie” Sambucello, are with him. His mother and brothers come to the bookstore reading; Nate and Adele make up, and Ernie again implores his brother to let him come live with him in California.
A thin line separates the romantic from the rational, the ideal and the idealistic. As Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers begins his novel pitching romance against reason, rationalism against radicalism, family vs. individualism, freedom vs. anarchy, he finds himself intellectually falling in with Tim’s overt anarchy.