I began writing in 1974. My first screenplay was based on the song “Taxi” by Harry Chapin. I wrote my first children’s book in 1997. My daughter Morgan was the driving force that gave me the inspiration and motivation to write, Tree Story, which was originally titled The Family Tree. Before that, I had never dreamed that I would ever write anything for children. I was divorced at the time, and it was my weekend to spend with Morgan. I was just coming out of a long-drawn-out annoying bout with writer’s block, and I was eagerly working on a screenplay that I had been writing when my thought process decided to suddenly go on an extended vacation! Out of desperation, I was trying to keep Morgan both happy and entertained. I was feeding my VCR with what seemed to be an endless supply of videos for her to watch. When I thought that I had finally gotten her attention directed entirely on Barney the Purple Dinosaur she got mad at me for leaving her out there stranded all alone on “Barney Island”. It was at that point that she let me know exactly how disappointed she really was, “How come you never write anything that I can read?” She asked. I was taken by surprise, and I did not know quite how to respond. “Well, what should I write,” I asked. It was obvious that she had planned her response for quite a while because she fired right back with, “You can write about trees. You should make them families of trees in a forest!”
I knew that I had just been put on notice by my five-year-old daughter. She had just challenged me to write my very first children’s book. I couldn’t ignore what I perceived to be a dare of sorts even though my first inclination would have been to somehow slither far away from her request. Fortunately, my voice of reason immediately kicked in and I decided that I would write a very quick, short story about a tree or two in the forest just to appease Morgan enough so that I could then hurriedly get back to working on the screenplay that I had been writing prior to her trying to redirect the entire course of my writing career!
As I began to work on the story, I clearly remember thinking that I would only dedicate an hour or so to working on the project. As I was writing what was originally supposed to be that one to two trees in the forest scenario it became very clear that I couldn’t stop it from growing. It kept getting bigger and better as I continued to write. It was very peculiar because I felt this unbelievable sense of power when I would put my fingers back onto the keyboard. I had never experienced a sensation quite like that one before. When the story was complete the forest scenario had transformed into a multitude of family trees accompanied by a wide array of wildlife that was all living harmoniously inside of the boundaries of that forest. In the end, the story had grown conceptually beyond anything that I could have ever imagined.
Tree Story is geared toward elementary school-aged children, and it follows families of trees that are harvested, taken to a lumber mill, and made into new wood products. Throughout the story, the families continue to face the possibility of being separated forever… or did they?
Hey Boys and Girls it's Story Time - This is a 4:42 Preview of the 19:10 - Tree Story - Slide Show Audio Book Movie.
Total Running Time: 1:01
44th Grammy Award Entry