Walking a rocky shore.

August 27, 2011 § 16 Comments

A basket of ugly beach shoes sits by the door of this Maine rental cottage. Unlike Florida where bathers walk comfortably on the glossy satin of wet sand, the shore here is unkind to bare feet. Stones and boulders, periwinkles and broken mussel shells make ugly shoes a requirement. Each member of my family has found a pair that almost fits.

Sometimes the tide laps the bottom step of the wooden staircase down to the beach. Sometimes it is a long teetering walk across slick rocks to reach the water. The tidal exchange here is twelve feet.  With each tide change the shore is rearranged, pebbles and shells swept up like a handful of jack’s and tossed down again.

From this vast, shifting collection I am carefully selecting the few rocks that will come home in my carry-on suitcase wrapped in dirty laundry. Once home I’ll arrange them on a windowsill, where they will become part of the personal landscape of artifacts in my home, proof that I’ve been places and done things.

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How not to blog.

August 16, 2011 § 15 Comments

I just got back from speaking at a writers conference—and listening.

I discovered that I’m doing this blogging thing all wrong.

A blogger should post 3 to 5 times a week.

The posts should be snappy and short, say 300 to 500 words.

The blog should be part of the writer’s image-building strategy called a Platform.

A smart author strives to become a household name like Coca-Cola or Cheerios.

In addition to the blog a writer should have a website, should Tweet, should have printed materials…

The list was more extensive but at that point my brain seized.

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The Pushmi-Pullyu.

August 9, 2011 § 4 Comments

“PUSHMI-PULLYUS are now extinct. That means, there aren’t any more.”

The last documented sighting was made by one John Doolittle, a medical doctor turned veterinarian and animal behaviorist who lived in the English backwater of Puddleby on the Marsh.

Perhaps you are familiar with the good doctor’s writing. Here is his description of the Pushmi-Pullyu: “They have no tail, but a head at each end, and sharp horns on each head.”

Dr. Doolittle did more than describe the rare creature. After an extended voyage he brought one back with him to England. Seeing the creature for the first time his housekeeper, a Peking duck known as Dab-Dab remarked, “Lord save us! How does it make up its mind?”

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“I know…let’s put on a show!”

August 4, 2011 § 16 Comments

We met via Skype, the cast peering into my living room, me peering back. Then we took this group portrait.

“We’ll bill it as the World Premier!” said Faye Johnson, the director of Project Impact, an after school and summer program for low income
kids in Apalachicola.

For a woman who shepherds an effort funded by grants coaxed from a tightfisted universe Faye is remarkably optimisic. “It will all work out beautifully!”

Blithe optimism is not my style. I am an optimist, but also a worrier.

The World Premier in question was the stage debut of my book “Crossing Jordan,” adapted by me. I have never written a play before and solved some of the problems inherent in adapting this particular book in ways that were either, a. innovative, or b. stupid.

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