The Story Behind the Story: The Changing Tree

Posted: April 8, 2020 in The stories behind the stories
Tags: , , , , ,

Remember I told you about the story “Wooden Heart”? The story featuring a shadowy, powerful female religious order and a very special tree? Well, “The Changing Tree” is the other one I mentioned.

This story started as a “What If?” question. I read once that all human fetuses are female for the first five to six weeks of formation, and only begin to turn into males if there is a Y chromosome present to kick off the change. I got to thinking – what if it were the other way around? What if we all started off as male, and puberty were the trigger to change half of us into females? I have no conscious memory of considering this when writing the story, but the other thing my subconscious was almost certainly playing with was the idea of forbidden fruit.

Often, I don’t discover what a story’s true themes are until I’m part the way, or all the way, through writing it. “The Changing Tree” wound up being about more than some fantastical method of gender reassignment; like “Wooden Heart”, it’s partly about the secrets we keep from children about sex, gender and sexuality. It’s also about the gulf of misunderstanding that grows between men and women as we leave childhood. And it’s about how scary growing up can be, and how when we are young, we can have the mistaken belief that we’re never going to change.

Master Bertram / Public domain


(On a side note – see that snake with the woman’s face at the bottom of the painting? That’s Lilith. She makes a brief appearance in the story “Late for Eisheth”. I’ll tell you more about that in nine posts’ time.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s