Friday, May 31, 2013

last chance!

Today is May 31, so it is your last chance to submit a name for Jessie's island! I'll pick the name tomorrow and let you know the results. Put on your thinking caps and sign in. Name That Island!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Almost moving day . . .

We are moving into town from our beloved cabin in the county. 

My daughter, who I have fostered since she was three years old,  is here with my granddaughter for a visit. 

It is almost my birthday. 

My editor just wrote to say the second edit of my juvenile novel is on the way.

What these things have in common is change. Change, and time. We are moving into town because a cabin with 68 acres in the county has become too much for me to handle.  Town will give me time; time not spent commuting, not worrying about clearing roads and getting dead trees felled, not pumping water or dealing with the critters on whose land we have built.

My beautiful daughter has driven seven hours to bring my granddaughter for a birthday visit. She has done this for three years now, and I cherish her for this, among many, many other things. I began this first novel for her, many many years ago, and then life intervened and I set it aside. Last year something prompted me to pull it out and begin the long and arduous process of rewriting.

Many things have had to be changed in the book since that first attempt.  Written letters have turned into  emails. The encyclopedia Britannica has turned into an internet search. Long distance phone calls are no longer expensive.

What has not changed is that need for adventure, for the new, for that amazing sense of discovery; when something is first new to you, if not to the rest of the world.
I had that in my childhood, and I wanted it for my daughter, who I saw not nearly often enough as she grew up, and yet feel such an incredible bond with, as if she were truly of my blood. I want this for her daughter, now a four year old whirlwind of laughter and light.

Change and time. New and old. 

Malia will eventually read the book I first wrote for Megan. 

And I will try to recapture that sense of wonder and adventure in order to turn this move from something that must be done into just another adventure, with another chapter of my life around the corner, another page waiting to be turned.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Paris in the springtime. . .

this ain't. But then, my friend in Paris just posted pictures, and it is pouring there. For the nth day.
photo richard beban

Here, the fog’s rolled in again, blanketing a beautiful sunny morning with cool gray mist.
I can see as far as the next house, but beyond that I’m an island within an island.
view from my porch
I can hear Dylan power-washing a deck several houses down, but the sound is muffled. He could be anywhere on this side of town. The fog plays tricks with sound, carrying it to places it would not normally travel. I like the idea of the sound of Dylan’s power washing strapped to the back of the fog, or maybe riding the fog like some sort of wild horse, sound’s claws dug into the tendrils of a foggy mane.
photo nina brodeur
photo nina brodeur
A fog this thick conjures up such images.

Spring on the island is a time of fog, and of sounds.  Getting-ready sounds.  Power washers. Lawnmowers and weedwackers. Nail guns tapping into new shingles in one place, hammers driving nails into two by fours in another. Vacuum cleaners and voices calling from windows open for the first time since they were closed last fall. More carts and trucks and four-wheelers, more engines driving boats through the waters in and out of the harbor.

More everything, bouncing off the fog, layering at times into a voice partway between cacophony and something as yet unnamed, that takes on its own  special rhythm.

Spring island music, with fog accompaniment.
photo nina brodeur

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Excitement on the rock . . .

I was taking my usual afternoon walk down to Barges Beach yesterday when I noticed a piece of the modular home that had been sitting  by the side of the road since I arrived was gone.  The wind on the beach was sharper than I had expected, so I decided to head up the hill and watch the show.

There were only a couple of people leaning against the wall when I arrived.

I'd missed the preshow, all the excavation had all been done earlier and the basement foundation was in place.
Either the crane is too large to fit upright in the picture or I can't get it to rotate. Your choice.

The crane was there, though, so I was sure the  real excitement was going to start soon.
Apparently, I was not alone in this assumption.

I was talking to Kris, and she said she was pretty sure this was the first complete modular home to be brought on to the island.  A number of homes had been built with prefab walls that were brought over by barge, but not whole sections complete inside and out like this house.
 The crowd began to grow.  I suggested to Arnie that we were the reincarnation of Jack and Oscar.  They were the old timers who would stand watching and "supervising" any time I undertook an outside project on the Allen House.  Which was pretty much every day in the spring and fall.
Here we go . . .

Easy now . . .

And there you have it, part 1.

That was thirty years ago.  Long before that, several houses had been floated over from the mainland, either complete or cut in half.  You could recognize them because they were the only houses that had actual house numbers still on them.  

Our own Annex had been rolled on logs and pulled by mules from the West End of the island to its current position, and the Coast Guard building floated over from the neck.
 can you imagine rolling a two-story building on logs over this?

After that, everything was stick built from the ground up for years until the newfangled idea of bringing whole walls over on barges was tried.  

Now we have come full circle, bringing over houses just about complete.  And I have come full circle too, no longer the laborer, but the watcher.

Friday, May 10, 2013

When on the rock . . .

I took my first walk of the season on Barges beach yesterday.
I've been here a couple of days, but walked with Nina.  
My sister prefers parts of the island one can walk quickly and energetically.  When I walk with Nina we walk on the roads and on the deer paths.  
We raise our heart rates.  Sometimes we sweat.  
We walk in a way that is good for our hearts, our blood pressure, a way that strengthens our bones and builds muscles and stamina.  

This is a good thing, and I love walking with my sister.

When I walk alone here on the island, if I don’t have a specific destination, I find myself almost invariably on Barges beach.  I can’t walk fast on Barges, even the “road” along the beach is cobbled unevenly with large and small round stones, ever-shifting sand, and tufts of whatever plant can find a roothold between the rocks.  

I can’t really look ahead for more than a moment or two. The only way for me to walk on Barges beach is looking down at the ground just ahead of my feet.
i saw coyote tracks
There are sandy stretches on this beach, but they change with every tide and every storm.  I can never know what is ahead of me at any given time, so to walk without stumbling and falling is to walk slowly, looking down.
the coyote was following a deer
I don’t mind this.  In fact I prefer it, which is why I am drawn, have always been drawn, to this particular part of the island.  Looking down forces me to focus on the small, the singular, the unique at that moment that is directly in my line of sight.  

Looking down is sand rounded beach glass, deep red or acid green strands of seaweed, perfect scallop shells.  Looking down is tide pools, sunbleached driftwood carved into unreal shapes, dodging the incoming tide.
looking down I found-

Walking up Barges beach in soft sand is good for the muscles, jumping from jetty rock to jetty rock on the way back down to the road is good for the bones.

Looking down, focusing on the small, the individual, finding what is unique directly under your feet lowers your blood pressure.  
It is good for the heart.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Any island in a storm . . .

Hello, my friends,

I’m in a quandary. I’ve got a series of books set on an island much like Cuttyhunk, but not Cuttyhunk, because I had to add a beach here and some cliffs there and a lighthouse over on that bit and . . .

You see my problem. It’s no longer Cuttyhunk. But it needs a name. The series is called the Summerhood Island series, but I don’t like Summerhood as the name of the actual island. It sounds fake, and anyway, people live on it all year round.

So here’s the deal. Give me a suggestion for a name. Or as many as you want. If I pick your name for Jessie’s island I will send you a personalized advance copy of the first book of the series.

Here’s the catch. You have to submit the name on my actual blogspot.  Put in your email where it says follow summerhoodisland by email (right hand side half way down). 
That way I have your email if you win, and I’ll email you for an address to send the book and what you’d like me to say. Put the title idea(s) themselves in the comments area. 

All suggestions have to be in by May 30, so get cracking!

And thank you,