By: judithdisalvo | March 14, 2017

The latest issue of Virtuoso Life Magazine (March/April 2017) featured me in their “Why I Travel” article. I’m quoted as saying, “It (traveling) teaches me about who I am. Sometimes you need to get a little lost to find yourself.”

Since this is a blog about my writing adventures, I venture to say the quote also applies to the characters I write about. Getting a little lost, then finding their way with help from friends, is a good template for a compelling story. Could the quest to find our way lie in our DNA or maybe our primal brain?

Santa Fe's Baldy Mountain
View of Santa Fe's Baldy Mountain

My last post was about the passing of my mother. For the last half year, she lived here on our farm with Tim and me. Upon her passing, home for me became a sad place and so, for a month or so, I took off on a retreat to a favorite destination, Santa Fe. Returning home recently, it was time to clean mom’s little house and go through her things. Yes, still hard, but the treasures were worth it.

One such treasure is the discovery that she had noted one of my favorite quotes years before I came across it. It’s the most famous from writer Simone de Beauvoir, the opening line in Book II of The Second Sex: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” So thank you again, June Bug, for raising me in an atmosphere of “becoming” and also inspiring me, and hence my characters, to risk being a little lost.

Springtime is about to bloom on the farm and I am home.

Judith Hennessey, March 2017

By: PenPower | April 06, 2016

Posted by Judith Hennessey, April 20, 2016, for Earth Day!

You’re looking at it. "The Tree of One Hundred Horses" is located in Sand’alfo, Sicily. It’s somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 years old with a trunk measuring over 190 feet. It was aging gracefully before some lunatic recently tried to burn it down. Crazy right? I stumbled upon on this magnificent specimen when I was in Sicily this month.


We were at Barone DI Viilagrande winery in Milo, in the Mount Etna region, enjoying a foraged pureed asparagus soup with a hint of fennel (these Sicilians are farm-to-table on steroids – they forage the surrounding forest for ingredients for their dishes) and enjoying a flinty chardonnay. The subject of American slang came up as we tried to explain to our driver, who joined us for our wine tasting, what ‘older than dirt meant.’ Everything around us was, well, older than dirt! Finally nodding with understanding, he said, “It’s like us saying, it’s older than the Tree of One Hundred Horses!”


I stopped mid-sip. I had read about this tree somewhere. “Oh my god, it’s a Chestnut tree! Is it close to here?” I’m a tree-hugger amongst other things and was stunned by this weird turn of events. I thought there was no way in hell I would be able to drag husband, son, sister and brother-in-law to see one tree when World UNESCO sites and temples dating to 340 BC were scattered around the island like sea shells.


“It’s 20 minutes from here. Would you like to see it?” I could tell our driver was impressed, looking at me with newfound respect, like I wasn’t just another dumb brunette American.


My mouth hung open. He proceeded to tell about the tree’s name, how a princess with 100 knights in tow rode up to the tree in a thunderstorm, taking refuge under its massive branches. “She was, ah…,” he stammered, ”ah…,” clearly searching for an English word that would not offend me.


“Promiscuous?“ I asked. My son blushed, my husband cackled, the Sicilian driver flashed a sly sexy smile and replied, ”You can only imagine what happened.”


God save the Trees! 

Judith Hennessey