What is the difference between today and last Thursday? I’d really like to know, but I have a hunch it’s a rhetorical question. Last Thursday, I went to Kellogg Beach, and walked for six hours along Pelican Bay without seeing a single creature except for gulls. Today, there were gulls, but also dogs, horses, fisherfolk, old couples, young couples, and a couple of individuals cloud bathing. (At least I’m assuming they were cloud bathing. They were sprawled on towels on the beach, and there wasn’t a single bit of blue or spark of a sun ray in the sky.) I set out on my solitary walk anyway, but people had driven out onto the sand, so were spread out all along the beach.
No one else was walking, so I still managed to find peace and renewal by the bay, but all the activity made me wonder what brought so many people out to play in the clouds. Maybe it was simply a lemming-type day. People woke up, and en masse, decided to head for that particular piece of oceanside land.
Even the worst day at the beach is pretty spectacular, but nothing happened to make it an adventure. Still, I’ve been having an adventure of a different kind. A literary kind. After years of having no inclinination to write, this weekend, I dug out my moribund dance studio mystery and started working on it. Have the first three chapters written. Amazing!
It helps that the friend I’m staying with is not only my first true fan, but a writer herself. (We met online in a writer’s group seven years ago. It took us all this time to finally meet, and it’s as if we’re old friends. Which, of course, we are.) She’s been encouraging, mostly because she wants to read the book, so I’ve been letting her read my work as it progresses. So far, so good.
(I also told her the story of my grieving woman book I began as a NaNoWriMo project five years ago, and her wide eyed-eagerness to read that finished book made me think it’s time to finish that book along with my other started projects.)
I’ve considered trying to find a writer’s colony or a writer’s retreat to help me refocus on what I want from my literary life, and apparently, I got my wish.
I’d planned to go back to the high desert this week, but I’m staying awhile longer. There are still places around here I haven’t yet seen, parts of the beach I haven’t explored, trails I haven’t hiked. And there are words to write.
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)