I’ve been fascinated with botany as of late. Perhaps it’s because I’ve moved somewhere new and have spent time actually noticing the world around me. It’s an entirely different landscape than I’m used to because it’s an entirely different climate: a dry, hot, sunny climate with a frequent tendency for purple thunderstorms. 

  
The southwest has always captivated me. I’m not sure if it is because I grew up in the East, and it seemed otherworldly or because I just found it to be innately beautiful, but since my first visit to Arizona when I was twelve, it’s never failed to make me stop and look at it and absorb its life and beauty. It helps that the pace of life here is slower (not slow- just slower) than Los Angeles, which helps me to be more observant than normal, I think.

Today I did some exploring in this new place and meandered (I mean it- it was one hundred degrees, much too hot to move any faster) through succulent gardens and desert reserves and bosque forests and herb gardens. 

    
I am partial to the one below. Its hues of neon violet, blue, and magenta pink colors are truly magnificent. It is the peacock of cacti. 

  
More often than not, I find that botany serves as a rich source of inspiration for short stories. I recently became intrigued by the corpse flower, and strangely it resurged in the media right after I had penned a few stories involving the smells-strangely-just-like-a-corpse plant. 

I submitted these stories, of course. As always, it’s ‘we will see.’ I think I’m up to 48 rejections. In the grand plan, it’s minuscule- at least, that’s what I tell myself.

Anyway.

I also geek out over detail. The ingredients and methodology to making jellies and jams, and mixing potions and ointments, and distilling cocktails and cordials are details I obsess over whenever I read a book- I just love them. So I try to bring that passion for weird minor detail on organic things into my writing. 

I picked up two fabulous books today while on my desert trip that might help me to become more versed in all the details of the things aforementioned above. 

  
 I’ve started Wicked Plants (at the pool today- maybe a bit macabre for poolside reading) and couldn’t put it down. There would certainly be a myriad of scrumptious ways to poison someone if you needed to… Or if your characters did, I mean. I’m looking forward to The Drunken Botanist as well- it’s never a bad time to learn how to make a new drink and I certainly will have lots of opportunities to try out new cocktails in a climate where lounging in (not by- too hot) the pool is an absolute must, and an iced alcoholic drink in the hand that’s not holding the book is a less absolute but more frivolously satisfying must.

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