Last Day


Perfect day. Found a seemingly endless stretch of sandy beach. Gentle waves and a blue, blue sky.















Got my feet wet.














And walked through a lovely serene stretch of forest leading me to that beach.

Second Arrival


I love to be by the water; to experience the waves, and the clouds, and the birds above. And I love to be in the forest to hear the silence. Nature is the source.

And, in case you hadn't guessed: I love colorful socks, too.

You've seen one sunrise, you've seen them all

No, I don’t believe that, but rest assured that it was lovely this morning. Instead, you get last evening’s clouds: just as impressive in their own soft and billowy way.


On a walk this morning the thoughts and ideas kept bubbling forth. Writers are supposed to carry paper and pencil with them at all times. A notebook, a pad, index cards. Since I claim to be a writer these days, I eagerly comply with this advice. Except when I’m walking for exercise. And then my phone serves the purpose. When inspiration hits—as it often does—I record it while walking and write it down when I get back to my desk.


This is my last full day in my little cabin on the water. Tomorrow I head to a quaint little tourist town for three nights. My progress on the new novel has been in baby steps. Remember the accolades when you took your first step? When your child took their first step? This evening I will give myself a round of applause for my own baby steps. Because I know there will be more to follow.

Slept in this morning. But the sun--slave to her schedule--got up anyway. I understand such devotions. You see, in spite of the fact that my purpose in being here is to write and eat only when I’m hungry, I find myself on a schedule similar to what I keep at home. So if you’ll excuse me, I have some characters to see to.




The sun was a little late getting up this morning, yet she threw flames across the water anyway. Cloudy now as I write this—probably just the fog that had been on the horizon delaying the sun’s arrival.

On a walk this morning I encountered three guys on Harleys. They stopped to ask ME directions. Oddly enough, I knew what to tell them. I felt like a real native.


The surgery on my character made good progress yesterday. It is always fun to watch your characters develop personalities and shape the flow of the story. I don’t strive for a finished product at this point; just a first draft. As Anne LaMott (Bird by Bird), has so eloquently allowed me, I know this will be a “shitty first draft.” When I wrote my memoir Guilty until Forgiven, I had fourteen drafts. Peter magnanimously volunteered to read the very first one. His feedback did not include the word “shitty,” but put a polite positive spin on it: “It needs work, but there is potential here.” With this new novel, there is a group of other writers I have been brave enough to share chapters with. They read my drafts, and I read theirs. I am in awe of their talents, and so fortunate to have their trust. As they have mine.

Still Waters


On a walk this morning I saw lifting fog and the first two human beings to cross my path in over thirty-six hours. The water was very still.

Writers are loath to give up favorite characters. We have strong ties to these people—after all, we created them. It has been lurking in my heart that I am going to have to experience such a demise with the novel I am currently working on. Yesterday I read something that convinced me: what my heart is telling me is the truth. Fortunately, for me (and my character) this will not be a complete death. Only major surgery to the character’s back story. What that does to the story remains to be seen. I’ll have to let this new character guide me.

Good Morning Sunshine


On a walk this morning I saw Autumn Asters, Queen Anne’s Lace, endless forests of densely packed alders and pines, and carpets of moss that begged to be petted.

I heard once—probably an NPR story—that people have devoted years, if not entire careers, to finding the quietest place on earth. I know this isn't it, because there is the constant lap of the waves. Bugs of some kind buzzing around. A gentle breeze. Otherwise, there is only my unquiet mind. The waves and the breeze are teaching me how to quiet that. And let the words come.

The Journey

I enjoy preparing for a road trip – for a planner, it’s a plethora of delightful organizational tasks. Routes, activities, places to stay, and what to take (everything)… I tend to over-plan to the same extend that I over-pack. Needless to say, the best laid plans of a good planner always have the potential to “go south,” as they say. And so it was with my car rental pick up. However, I don’t wish to recount such a bad experience, nor bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, it all worked out, and my delayed departure (five hours) only cost me one hotel cancellation. (And, of course, some stress during crisis management.)


And finally you’re on the road. And the journey is long—it’s always long when you want so badly to be there. Endless stretches of highway, vast fields dotted with hay bales, row upon row of corn. Tiny towns, some quaint and some not so much, that make you slow down, although I’m never sure exactly why. Nobody seems to live in these places and traffic is virtually non-existent. Ultimately you come to the final few miles and you can almost smell the water. These are the longest miles of the trip.