I have compiled the following data:

Total revenue from writing: $0
Total revenue from Inca-peanut plantation: $300

Having studied these figures exhaustively, I have reached the tentative conclusion that I should concentrate my efforts on growing Inca-peanuts (Sasha inchi or to impress a Carl Linnaeus groupie, Plukenetia volubilis). Naturally I will have an accountant corroborate my findings. Statistical analysis is tricky business and I don’t want to prejudge the outcome.

Camu camu seedling

And for all of the doubting Thomases that said I could not grow camu camu (have you seen the price of camu camu powder?), there’s proof. Myrciaria dubia! in the flesh. Shouldn’t it be Myrciaria dubious? Okay, it isn’t exactly fruiting, but it’s still a small miracle (note to self–next project: miracle fruit).


Here we have Eugenia selloi (formerly Eugenia neonitida–don’t ask: probably having to do with a sex change operation or something equally astounding). Needless to say, this is a rare Eugenia.

Eugenia seed

Finally, why not grow your own coffee? Kona (Coffea arabica).

Kona coffea arabica

Ceci n’est pas une fleur

Thevetia peruviana

Two people studying a painting in a roomy art galley. One is an imbecile and the other is the artist. Requisite dialogue ensues.

“What’s it supposed to be?” asked the beady-eyed nincompoop, rubbing his chin.
“It’s not supposed to be anything,” remonstrated the great modernist painter. “It’s abstract.”
“Oh,” said the nincompoop.

And so René Magritte, the Belgian painter, presented his audience with The Treachery of Images, a conundrum.

The infamous painting is often cited as an example of self-reference. The painting is that of a tobacco pipe. Underneath are the words ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ which translate to This is not a pipe. And, in fact, it isn’t a pipe–it’s an image of a pipe. ‘This or Ceci’ may refer to the image of the pipe, the painting itself, or even the sentence–but it keeps pointing back to itself.

A reader of this blog writes: “I’ll give this post an 8½ out of 10.”

An astute reader adds: “Fellini and Magritte! What next?”

Watching lustrous Florentine beauties float by hither and thither (white gloved, in magnificent dresses and maroquin shoes), a youngblood named Dante (no, not the famous one!) sits at an umbrella-shaded table, with an umbrella-shaded drink, on an elevated terrace, whereupon he meets, distractedly and charily, a poet named Virgil.


Camu camu cupcakes

cacari camocamo

Ever made camu camu cupcakes? Well, this post isn’t about that. It will be at least eight years till I can harvest the fruit, provided the sprouting seeds actually survive and later thrive. But, as usual, I am hopeful. And just so you know, Myrciaria dubia, or camu camu (or, if you are still unsatisfied, cacari), is the fruit with the highest vitamin C content ever measured. I even puts acerola to shame (I’m growing acerola too, but more on that some other day).

And so this post is only tangentially about cupcakes or, for that matter, camu camu. It’s actually about another sort of seed, which has sprouted into another drabble (i.e., a 101 word story).

drabble, Prospero Dae

You can read it here.

I am providing a few notes on the text (for those who are interested). Another picture of Myrciaria dubia (or camocamo, but that’s my last offer) provides a buffer, allowing you to read the story first without spoilers. And do keep in mind that an author’s explication is usually all but worthless and probably wrong.

camocamo, cacari

Cupcake is a very very (camu camu) short story about bullying in school. Cupcake is used as a term of endearment and so the opening line is somewhat deceptive. One automatically assumes a romantic relationship and that the electricity felt by the unnamed male character has to do with the kiss. Mothers are ever-loving, but voluptuous? Here we have an Oedipal drama unfolding.

Oedipus was fated to marry his mother and unwittingly murder his father. The father is seen as a rival. Is the boy buddy buddy (camu camu) with his father? Is this why the schoolyard bully is ironically called Buddy? In the Oedipal complex, the father is seen as a rival for the attention of the mother. Buddy certainly seems to play that role (being a projection of the father in the boy’s mind). Freud saw this rivalry as a crucial stage in the normal developmental process (no wonder he was always in therapy!).

Nonetheless, the boy is left to deal with his own problems. He is frustrated (and children are always frustrated in silence, as they cannot articulate their feelings properly) that his mother seems to think that the whole solution to his problem is simply to not give his cupcake away (to Buddy, as some sort of protection money). The boy feels the bullying at a visceral level and cannot understand why his mother is dismissive of the anguish he feels. This is why the story ends so matter-of-factly.

Dr. Libellule, director of Sun Haven, a sanatorium for wayward souls, had once visited South Africa (the province of KwaZulu-Natal), where he became enamored with a hazel-eyed, simpering housemaid and, later, after days of debauchery in Pietermaritzburg, the genus Clivia.


Clivia miniata var simpering housemaid

Campomanesia lineatifolia

Campomanesia lineatifolia (La chamba, Champa, Perfume Guava) I am quite proud of this small tree from the rainforests of Ecaudor. It’s rare in cultivation.

Campomanesia lineatifolia seed

Here is the seed. What a humble beginning.

Papaya seedling

Carica papaya watermelon This is a Hawaiian variety of papaya.

Hibiscus acetosella leavesHibiscus acetosella flower

Hibiscus acetosella The leaves of this hibiscus are edible. The flower is pretty too.

Morning glory

Ipomoea platensis (Argentinian moning glory) This ipomoea makes a huge caudex. It needs to be pruned often as the vine grows very vigorously.


Cycas revoluta

Sadly, my cinnamon plants are not doing very well. They need to be kept very dry. I’ve lost several already and am struggling to keep the remaining plants alive.


Adenium flower

I know many of you think I’m a rising star in the hopelessly crowded field of wannabe writers, mostly because you’ve been inured to the suggestion by my constant I’m-an-unrecognized-genius refrain.

And yet the proof is in the proverbial pudding (and oh how I love crème brûlée), as the folks at, through some clerical error, are publishing a story of mine. But now that I think of it, can being a New York Times Best Seller be far behind? 101 words today, 100,001 tomorrow. It’s a mathematical certainty (for the genius-in-waiting).

Just so you know, it’s a story told (lavishly) in 101 words. Impossible? Practically, given my average sentence is longer than a stretch limousine.

Please leave your comment on ‘Double’ at 101word because it’s the right thing to do.

But more importantly, you are supporting the folks at 101 who are in turn supporting writers (some of whom are potentially geniuses, but I repeat myself).

And while you’re there, read a few stories, heck sign up!

The story is called Double and you can find it here:

Prospero Dae

(Pictured on top is the vainglorious Adenium obesum, with doppelgänger.)