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Attack of the Tenacious Jumping Cholla

I’m a big fan of tenacity. It gets me to the top of mountains, the bottom of steep ski runs, THE END of the umpteenth revision when writing a novel.

But sometimes tenacity gets carried too far. Take the jumping cholla cactus, for example. On a recent hike in the Sonoran desert I wandered too close to one and — I know the spines don’t actually “jump” off of the plant, but it sure seemed like a handful jumped onto my ankle. I tried to brush them off, and they stuck to my hand. Attempted the same maneuver with my other foot and they impaled themselves into the sole of my shoe. It took help from my daughter, who used two beefy sticks, to finally get free.

Not to be outdone, later that day I strolled past another cholla and found a clump stuck to the end of my foot, barbed spines lodged in my big toe. Ouch!

Yep, tenacity. It’s worth cultivating. Use it to attack that 20-mile hike, or to reach THE END of that novel. But please PLEASE save the spines for the spine of your new book. Maybe it will help the story stick with your readers.