Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Ugly Peach Tree

Last year my husband and I traveled from Phoenix to Bakersfield, Ca. While there we decided to visit a local nursery where we found an ugly peach tree. The peach tree's limbs were stunted and both issued forth from the same side of the tree. But it had blossoms and it would fit in the backseat of our car. We chose the ugly peach and brought it home.

That summer the ugly peach produced six fruits, all small but incredibly sweet. Winter came and our ugly peach was introduced to a harsher than normal winter. At some point, one of its two main limbs was broken. My husband's solution was to graft the limb and keep it in place with tape. Gray, ugly, duct tape. The ugly peach became even uglier. We laughed at its ungainly shape. We shook our heads over what would happen next. And what did happen? The broken limb of our ugly peach has bloomed.

What does this have to do with writing, you might ask. Sometimes an idea for a novel or story comes our way in an unexpected way or place. It may not be complete or even well-formed but it is there. We take it and nurse it, putting words on paper to delve deeper into its meaning. Sometimes from this idea, other ideas spring forth - for articles, for poems, or for completely different stories. Some of those may even produce award winning results or financial gains. Things happen. Sometimes the story is lost and is relegated to a drawer, but then an idea issues forth again. New thoughts occur and the work is brought out once again into the light. 

A writer friend of mine told me to never throw away my work. At first I had difficulty. My inner critic was ruthless. Some of it was so horrible, but I listened and kept all my writing, even those that for whatever reason I never finished. Years later I have often cleaned the drawer where these drafts reside, only to find a wonderful phrase, story idea and/or insight waiting for me. 

May your "ugly peach trees" survive your inner critic, may your writing blossom, and your work bear fruit.    

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

You can also follower her at or on Facebook


  1. Hi, Jean,

    Great story. I know I've got some"ugly peach tree" manuscripts on my hard drive. It's time to look at them again and see if one or two might just blossom with some rewriting.


  2. I love the peach tree as metaphor. My experience with a lemon tree I put in a pot (it was a miniature) was just the opposite. Someone help! Please!

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    Excited about how much the new edition of the Frugal Book Promoter (expanded! updated!) can help writers with the tried and true and the new media, too. Now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right ( it the original edition was also a Reader Views winner and an Irwin Award winner.

  3. Excellent analogy! I love this! I don't throw away my writing--I keep files called "Outtakes" for each project. Most of the time I never use any of it again, but sometimes I go back and find a peach!

  4. Jean, lovely story, and long may your tree -- and writing -- bloom and grow.

  5. Jean, this is not only a good reminder to turn off that self-censor (something I tend to struggle with), but to look for beauty (and material) in unlikely places. Your peach tree with its gnarled branches and sweet fruit is perfect for setting.

  6. What a wonderful analogy ... and peach tree!

  7. Jean, what a wonderful post and great analogy. I save all my work - even content I edit out of a story or article. You never know when you might need it or be inspired by it.

  8. Jean, what a perfect springtime analogy! And important to know. As our confidence grows we find that no effort was wasted, no matter how wrong it felt at the time!

  9. Love this...and I have a broken pear tree just as prolific. Only wish I had the writing to match.

  10. Wonderful. And now I'm digging through my peach tree manuscripts. I'm also delighted to learn duct tape can do the job, as I used it recently on a broken branch and am awaiting results. My husband thinks I'm mad.

    1. Sheila, your manuscripts have been marinating - maybe they're ready for cooking. :)


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