Tuesday, January 07, 2020
Come the end of January, JB and I are starting a 2 month road trip. We'll be heading south in our car, away from snow and colder weather, down to Florida, across the Southern USA to Phoenix, where we'll drop off our dog Mattie with friends, then take a plane to Mexico for 2 weeks, return to Phoenix, pick up Mattie, and head to Southern California.
If this sounds adventurous, it is! I've been mapping out places we want to see, and friends/family we want to visit. It's like putting a puzzle together. We've decided we don't want to be stuck in the car driving more than 5-6 hours at a time, so we'll have plenty of stops, some overnight, some for several days. Philadelphia, Charleston, Tybee Island, Savannah, St Petersburg, New Orleans, Austin-San Antonio, El Paso (Texas is big!), Tucson, Phoenix, Puerto Vallarta, Palm Springs, Pismo Beach, Carpenteria, LA. There are people and places I will be so glad to see.
I've started mapping our return trip and it's equally exciting: Los Vegas, Sedona, Santa Fe, Memphis, Nashville, Washington DC, maybe New York City for a final fling.
I should add that I'm doing this with a back that still limits me and a knee that probably needs a replacement. I just ordered walking sticks so I can walk further and with better balance. I should further add that neither of us is sure how traveling life will be with Mattie. But I feel good about it all. I'm glad that JB and I are opting for a grand adventure. I might do a road trip Photo-Journal. I haven't found much help with the planning and gallivanting from available books, so who knows: maybe I'll write one myself!
I see 2020 as an auspicious year. I'm hoping by its end the turbulent era of Donald Trump will begin to recede, and I'm hoping I will have a book contract for my family saga manuscript. I'm also aware that living and dying seems to be playing a significant role for many of us, so far.
I keep reminding myself: Wait to Worry. That little mantra has helped me out more times than I can count.
Happy New Year from me. I'll be posting our travels. :^)
Monday, December 23, 2019
Thursday, December 05, 2019
It's no secret that I love the holiday season. I feel and act kinder this time of year. But I also miss my Mother and Father. My childhood Christmases were always good. My Mother made dozens of her famous chocolate chip cookies, there were always great presents under the tree, and on Christmas Day she cooked a huge turkey dinner complemented with her made-from-scratch raviolis. Company dropped by throughout the day and my Mother made it all special. She died a couple of weeks before Christmas, surrounded by love and gracious to the end. And my Father died before her, in his own bed, comforted and comfortable. I miss them. This time of year the life-gifts they gave me shine bright.
Ha! This is a telling snapshot of JB. Who else manages to take off pants and socks and keep them in tact?
We'll be having a holiday open house in part because it matters to me to offer a festive time to so many folks who may need or want company this time of year. Plus JB and I are good at throwing parties. I had an elective surgery four weeks ago so I'm planning menus from the couch.
And TA-DA! JB has been invited to show her metal pieces at the Bowersock Gallery in Provincetown. This is a prestigious fine artgallery, and she's over the moon about it. I'm so proud of her.
That's it for now. I'll be back. Meanwhile, happy holidays for any reason.
Friday, October 25, 2019
I'm not saying this to brag, but I live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It's a small town in winter, barely 300-400 year rounders, and an any-thing goes tourist attraction in summer--20,000 people letting go and relaxing. The shoulder months of spring and fall are the best of all. Beauty and bouncing light everywhere.
There's a large Portuguese population here, and a large gay and lesbian population, and hard working Mexican and Jamaican folks who send money back home, and plenty of artists and writers and dogs and foxes.
It's easy enough to get tangled up by life's chores and not take the time to walk along the bays beaches that make up this peninsula. Or to hunker in when a storm or a N'Easter comes and not head to the sea to watch the weather come right at you.
JB and I have found that Provincetown is an expensive place to live--we drop close to $ 100 for a nice meal out, and the town government and annual meetings can be pretty funky and contentious. But most of all, there's a vibrancy here that's just awesome.
PS Every so often I can't tell if I've taken a photo myself or copied it from someone else on Facebook or Instagram. If I haven't given credit, I apologize.
Wednesday, October 02, 2019
Way back, I invented selfies. I'm sure of it. Here are JB and I at a wedding last month. It was a wild wedding with lots of drinking and loose tongues. I don't drink and JB did. When we were ready to leave, I turned my head for a quick moment and found her dancing wildly, hands over head, sandwiched between two grinding men. I told her she was too old to be a grindee or grinder.
It was a big leap to move to Provincetown. But now I love being here. We've fixed up our house to our liking and it's cozy. The bay is a block away. The neighbors are great. I sit on the couch looking at this view more hours than I should admit. I write on the couch. I watch the news, I eat snacks, I read books, I play games on my phone. I have to force myself to get up and move. Which means I could be a sedentary slug if I'm not careful.
This cracks me up. I am on record predicting that Trump will not win a second term. His erratic instability has hit home with the Republicans who ignore and cover for him, but it's at a point where history will not treat them well if they allow him to continue to hurt the country.
And my family. I couldn't love them more. This week we learned that Logan, age 8, has petit mal epilepsy. He has to take medication for the next few years and there's a good chance he'll outgrow the seizures. Even though we expect that his day to day life won't be limited, the diagnosis hurts my heart. He's a very swell kid.
Happy October, everyone. The leaves are changing color.
Saturday, September 07, 2019
I'm finishing up a novel I've been working on for several years. Not consistently. I probably went a year or more without touching it at all. But now, 300 pages later, I'm almost done. Actually, I am done, but the last month I've been chopping and polishing and editing, chapter by chapter. Doing this is joy for me. I'm getting closer and closer to knowing I will have done the very best I could.
This is quite a process. I've re-read the manuscript several times now, tightening words and deleting anything that doesn't add to the plot or characters. Today I put together a timeline that begins in 1947 and ends in 2011. I have to fact check all kinds of things: was there e-mail in 1985? How much did a house cost in 1970? When did John Denver write Rocky Mountain High? What was the average hourly wage in 2000? Who won the Super Bowl when Michael Jackson wrote Billie Jean? And on and on. A book has to be congruent. I can make things up, of course, but some things need to be factually accurate. I've picked up a good 2 dozen errors so far.
I'm also establishing what happened when, and deciding what's relevant and what isn't. I realized I can't write this family novel without mentioning September 11'th and JFK's assassination and the AIDS crisis.
And I'm word-smithing. Can I use one word to show this instead of 4? Do I have too much description and not enough action or dialogue? Have I kept the plot moving at a good clip?
In a few days I'll send the manuscript back to the Development Editor I hired (Zoe Quinton), for her 2nd read through. She's been absolutely great, which for me means helpful and clear and encouraging. She tells me the book is good enough to land an agent and I think that means to land a publishing contract. I have this grandiose idea that the story can also be a mainstream movie.
All of this means I'm writing a book I feel great about. I love the writing of it, fleshing out the characters, creating story arcs, offering a glimpse of my version of loyalty and devotion. That's the theme of the book.
IF (a big IF) I'm lucky enough to be picked up, it would be another 1-2 years before the book would be in print and available for sale. Publishing is an industry that generally moves slow. I'm not sure why.
Is this my new career? I think so. For many people, it doesn't matter if other people like what they do because they do it for their own benefit. That's not me. I would love some degree of commercial success. I think I have a shot at it.
There: I said it. I know what I'm hoping for.
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
This explains a lot of my summer.
JB and I have had each grandkid, separately, for several days and overnights. We've said 'yes' dozens of times more often than a meager 'no' here and there. We've gone bowling, eaten dessert first, had water balloon fights, seen a drag show and a couple of children' theatre plays, searched for shells, swam every day, had meals together, watched movies, stayed up late, walked along zany Commercial Street, and counted our blessings out loud together 3 times a day.
Ryan, age 12, was the last to leave today. JB and I are exhausted. But exhaustion isn't what I feel the most. I KNOW we've created lasting memories. I KNOW they know it too. No doubt being one of four kids in a family requires daily compromise, so coming to Provincetown, alone, means getting total attention with a minimum of rules. I'm so happy to be able to give these beloved children that. And I love knowing that my Jessica appreciates it all.
And now, JB and I plan to chill. I have a manuscript to edit and a garden to tend to, but both are so easy peasy I'm ready. We'll wring out the last few days of summer and the nearby pool and look ahead to a gorgeous autumn on Cape Cod.
It's been a good summer. In a messed up world where a horrible man continues his racist rants and policies, and too many of my fellow-Americans either ignore or approve, I'm grateful to have a corner of life where only love lives.