“Come out back. I want to show you something.”
Jamie and I followed Tine out her screen door, the unmown crabgrass scratching the bottoms of our bare feet. We trailed her nimble frame as she climbed the crude brown ladder nailed to the trunk of the enormous oak tree growing in the back right corner of her yard.
I hadn’t known either of them for more than a couple of days. They were both the new girls at my school. But they weren’t awkward new girls. No, they were intriguing. They were both beautiful and strong and confident. And somehow, they had befriended me, the shy, quiet girl who didn’t have a clique of friends to break into. It was like they saw the me nobody else saw. And I understood how incredible they were, even though nobody else had discovered them yet. Their friendship made me feel like a new girl too. But not in the uneasy “I don’t know where to sit kind of way,” but in a “wow, I have possibility, look at who I can be,” kind of way.
“Ta da!” Tine held out her arms and twirled around the empty square room of the tree house.
Goosebumps pricked my thighs and crept down my ankles. I knew this was the dawning of something powerful. This small blank, wooden room resting in the branches of a tree held potential. It wasn’t going to take us to ancient Greece or to the moon, like Jack and Annie’s tree house, but I knew in that moment that things would happen here, that somehow my life was changing. And I was right. Tine, Jamie and I spent moments and hours and years growing up in that tree house. We played countless hours of Monopoly, sang Beatles tunes at the top of our lungs, raised baby rabbits, whispered secrets and shed tears.
That was my first tree house experience. Now, I have the pleasure of a new tree house, well sort of, Birch House Press, a new indie publisher has picked up and re-released all of my titles. Just like the new girls, for reasons unknown to me, picked me up as their friend all those years ago. And in so many ways being a part of Birch House press feels like that first day I rushed out into Tine’s yard with Jamie and clambered up that ladder.
Birch House is fresh and beautiful and new and full of possibilities. The other authors at Birch House are like new friends who have always known me. They are all beautiful and strong. They each write with their own individual styles, they live in different parts of the country, have different perspectives, backgrounds, and stories to tell, but yet, we get each other and appreciate each other, and sense the beautiful adventures we’re about to share.
I’d like to invite you over to the tree house, to see the beauty and passion Birch House can evoke. Spread out your arms, spin around, explore our stories, and lose yourself in our pages.
Laura L. Smith