The Beginning of the Writing of Fruits of Eden

Fruits of Eden: Napa Valley 1991-2021 has been copyedited for the final time and is on the way to the typesetter at Dancing Raven Press, an imprint of Analytical Psychology Press. I now have to summarize the book in 2-3 sentences (for the back of the book), a little longer in 4000 characters (for Amazon), and a more extended version for the publisher’s website. The book is entering yet another passage into the world of publishing.

I began writing the book six years ago in Guanajuato, Mexico, visiting Dianne, a dear friend, former writing group member, and an expatriate. Dianne and her husband Sterling built a beautiful, whimsical home on the hillside, which descends into the city center with plazas and outdoor dining. Each morning we would get up and write together, each typing away silently, and then read to each other before making the descent to meet Sterling for lunch. After a leisurely meal with a salted limeade that I came to love, we would climb the many steps back to their walled garden and home and then write through the afternoon. Each evening we returned to the city center for dinner.

From the roof looking into the city center.

Of course, there were comical crises. We had to take a taxi to pick up a neighbor’s almost feral cat at the vet, which Dianne had trapped and had neutered, unbeknownst to the neighbor. She rationalized this act by claiming he ate at her home half time anyway, not realizing that the cat would need aftercare of antibiotics for a week. This meant the cat had to be sequestered in the bathroom next to my bedroom. When we had to rush the cat back to the vet (I can’t remember why), we had to herd him into a carrier, which she insisted I carry as we walked down the stone steps past his other home—just in case. After his treatment, we returned with him, again sequestering him. One night I heard a terrible commotion only to discover that the cat had bitten Dianne when she tried to give him the antibiotic. She did not know if the cat had been inoculated for rabies, which spawned another crisis. After many calls to the vet and her doctor, she decided not to pursue rabies shots (for herself).

We laughed a lot that week. It was a relief from the story’s content, a story that really started five years before. A new neighbor had bought the ranch next door for more vineyards and a winery. A portion of the land was in an easement that the former neighbor and we had placed to protect an ancient oak savanna from development.

That is the beginning of the writing of Fruits of Eden. I will tell you more about the book in time… but I want to say it began in a retreat with an old writing buddy during a week of joi de vivre. One of my greatest lessons these last years is that you better enjoy the ride because it will be a long one! We save what we love, not what we fear.

Does that bode well for the story? Time will tell. I left Guanajuato and flew to Las Vegas and on to Bryce Canyon for another project. But that’s another story!

We are in a fight for the continuance of life on earth, and this is my personal version of that, lived out in the Napa Valley. I hope you will read Fruits of Eden when published later this year, and I hope you too will join this activism for our planet.