Friday, April 24, 2015


I have have made no secret that the inspiration behind the title story of my new book came while doing battle with invasive brambles in my own backyard.  It was actually less an inspiration than a connection.  That spark is reflected in the story when Cara says "The whole genus has power issues."  I am sure I said something much more colorful while I was picking yet another clipped cane from my clothing.

I had encountered the Snohomish Tribal legend of the Blackberry several years earlier in a very humble but utterly charming volume I bought in a local sandwich shop called AH MO: Indian Legends from the Northwest compiled by Judge Arthur Griffin, and edited by Trenholme J. Griffin.  I fell in love with it and encountered the similar versions of the tale from other sources after that.  The Griffin books (there are two, I believe) are full of short, wonderful tales that are a mix of origin stories, legends, cautionary tales. I recommend them.

If you love First People and First Nation stories as much as I do, you might also enjoy this website First People - The Legends.  It has a wealth of stories from an astounding array of native traditions. One of my all time favorites from this site is the Omaha legend of "How to Count to 100."

Here's a peek at part of one of Rick Geary's sketches for The Blackberry and other Tales That Creep.
A snippet of one of Rick Geary's sketches  for "The Blackberry"

Cara's neighbors, the Halls, have ties to the Native American community.  Dave shares his tribe's tale of the blackberry after Cara has had her first infuriating  encounter with the bramble that just won't go away.  Then Dave shows her something remarkable and more than a little frightening about this specific plant.

(from THE BLACKBERRY by Judith Cullen, copyright 2015)

"Dave laughed, 'That out there is not the blackberry of our legends, Cara.  You’ll find that the native blackberry is still a bush, and still duly humbled as the high ones intended.  This plant is not native to these shores.  It is an invasive tourist brought by Europeans for berry production.  It is known as the Himalayan blackberry.  The European settlers didn’t know quite what they had when they brought it here, and they lost control of Rubus armeniacus.'

 “'The whole genus has power issues, I think,' Cara muttered".

The Blackberry and other Tales That Creep coming soon to Amazon for Kindle and in Paperback.

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