At the hotel, a few weekends ago, there was a wedding, two conferences, and many other smaller groups of guests. I was there for the conference on writing for children: picture books, chapter books, middle grade readers, young adults. I took this photo of the little plant nestled against the Plexiglas wall that marked the walkway between the hotel's outdoor event patio and the beach. Later, in the lobby, I passed a little girl weeping loudly in her mom's arms while staff ran to get help: I overheard something about a finger slammed in a car door. This photo. That little girl. Foreground and background. Walkways and walls. Green leaves and thorns. At the conference that weekend, they did not fail to tell us: There have to be thorns.