Published finally! The Catalpa Tree Fairy and Other Stories
“The Catalpa Tree Fairy and Other Stories” is a collection of short stories inspired by my life, with a healthy dose of fantasy.
One of my favorite activities is to sit in our backyard with a cup of tea, accompanied by my cats. The scene is never boring, not just because of the cats, but because there are so many beautiful trees and birds and other creatures that never fail to entertain. Of course there are insects too – some of them are less entertaining, more of a nuisance! And on the days when the weather is less pleasant, I can sit inside (still with tea, and usually a cat) and watch the birds eating from the feeders outside my window. So, these stories feature the trees and birds found in my backyard, my beloved cat who passed on a few years ago and is still greatly missed, and a variety of characters drawn from my imagination, or were some of them real?
In the title story, Naida and her little group of young tree fairies learn how to take care of their newly assigned trees, and each other. The others include the story of Paul who enjoys the company of a beautiful songbird. Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” inspired some of my thinking on this one. Zoe has a favorite professor who turns out to be even more unusual than she first thought. I did actually have a math professor in my first year at university who appeared somewhat like Zoe’s professor, but I didn’t get to know him as well as she does. Maria meets an interesting old woman and her cat living in the forest who enjoys feeding birds. Joey always wanted a pet and is delighted when a special cat chooses to live with him. Astrid is a young mermaid whose love of dolphins helps her learn to sing. “The Little Mermaid” and her family was a starting point for this story, but that’s as far as the similarity goes.
These stories don’t tell of heroes who must defeat villains to rescue someone, or to be worthy of their kingdom or whatever. No, it’s not the same good vs evil scenario we are so used to. Instead, these are tales of the heart, of kindness, of growth, of relationships that benefit everyone. Of course there are mistakes made, misunderstandings, and challenges. Life would be boring if there was nothing to learn, no new friendships to make, no maturation of body and spirit.
I call this “family friendly fantasy” – perfect for anyone with the heart of a child – and I hope many people enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Oh, and the artwork is by my husband, Yuichi Tanabe.