Every sentence from the novel Because containing the word “magnolia.”


I want to carve a magnolia leaf from marble.

I want you to understand how good it feels to pass a blooming magnolia on your way to work while holding your wife’s hand.

I want you to feel what it’s like to pass a blooming magnolia and have your body fill up with some kind of joy, inflatingly, warm and tender like under a blanket in childhood.

I want to know the secrets of the old woman who lives in the single-family brownstone on 22nd Street with that blooming magnolia before its stoop.

I want to shoot target practice at camouflaged mannequins in a wheat field while magnolias sway pink and purple in the distance and a platoon of soldiers cartwheels past with melodic battle cries in their mouths.

I want to show you the postcard he sent from New York City when he first arrived, the one that’s a painting of a blooming magnolia with a brownstone beside it and the Statue of Liberty in its backyard.

I want to drive my children through the Puyallup Valley when they’re very young, and I want to point up to the mountain and tell the kids how their Great-Grandfather Riippi built a summer cabin there for Santa, in the white patch between the green and the blue, with a great magnolia tree in the yard that was always pink and purple in blossom, so the Clauses and elves could always find their way home through the snow.

I want to know what makes magnolias pink-purple and white instead of orange, instead of gray.

I want to relive that camping trip the church group took, when I made out with one of the other counselors in the magnolia-less woods and she told me she liked the Jesus she saw in me.

I want magnolia trees to rise from the depths and brighten in darkness.

I want our children to love the morning blossoms of a magnolia.

I want to remember snorkeling in a coral reef the color of magnolia with sea turtles and starfish smiling all about me.

I want to live in that brownstone on 22nd Street with the magnolia out front and the basil plants in the window and all that exposed brick.

I want to paint pictures of beautiful blooming magnolias with quails living in them.

I want to have been hiding in a tree high above the rose bushes, watching my grandparents and the sprouting magnolias below.

I want a coat of arms, a magnolia etched in coarse thread and profiled pack-mules to frame it.

I want to build a house in Chelsea with a Mediterranean beach as its backyard and a grove of magnolias as its front.

I want to learn to surf, to ride the waves between the magnolia trunks.

I want us to swim together amongst the tree trunks and falling petals, the blues and the greens and the magnolia, yellow sunlight warming the water with thick rays.

I want to write whole operas about what I feel when I’m holding my wife’s hand beside a looming magnolia.

I want to watch surfers glide by and magnolia petals spin in the waves like painted children doing cartwheels.

I want to climb into a magnolia tree somewhere, anywhere, and sleep and think about all that I already have and how much I don’t really need anything more at all. I want to plant a magnolia tree. I want to plant acres and acres of magnolia trees.

I want to organize a guerilla art project and cover the parking lots of closed discount shopping malls with massive potted magnolia trees in bloom. I want to plant magnolia trees in bottles and float them down the Hudson River, past Manhattan and out to sea.

I want to add magnolia trees blooming from the water and two surfers paddling through them.

I want to take a late afternoon swim in a Nile lined with magnolia trees in full blossom.

I want you to become my fan even if you hate the look of a magnolia tree in bloom, even if you hate grandparents and families and football and dogs.

I want to plant a magnolia tree outside the window nearest you so you have something beautiful to look at when you stretch your back.

I want to see magnolia petals in the whitewater spray.

I want to know if that’s really a magnolia tree in front of the brownstone on 22nd Street or some other kind of tree and I got confused.

Because I want the whales and fish to be pink and white as magnolias blown from glass.



Photo By: Elle_Ann