Thursday, December 25, 2014

Have you ever had a gift . . .

... just drop into your lap? 

This happened to me a few weeks ago, when I received a Cuttyhunk email with this essay. The young woman who wrote it distilled the essence of everything I'm trying to do with my Summerhood Island books into a few paragraphs. 

Here's Sophia Corona explaining why I'm writing the series, without ever having heard of my book(s). (I've added pictures to try and illustrate for those poor souls who've never been to 'our' island.)

The Gift

The greatest gift I have ever received could not be handed to me wrapped up in a box.  Have you ever heard of a small island called Cuttyhunk?  This little island has an area of about one square mile. It is located at the very western end of the Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. 

Cuttyhunk is a quiet, tightly-knit community where everyone knows each other.  There are many things Cuttyhunk has to offer like kind, welcoming people with warm smiles, utterly true freedom, and nature that can paint beautiful images in your memories.

Imagine waking up early in the morning, all by yourself, heading towards the beach; you don't even bother to put on your shoes.  As you 
head towards the beach, there is absolutely no person walking by and the excitement is almost palpable.  You turn your head east and the beautiful sunrise over the shining water with orange and pink colors wrapping themselves around the few clouds in sight.  The wind blows the ocean spray to your lips,and you just can't resist the urge to taste the salty spray.  Once you reach the beach,

the sand melts under your feet, cushioning your toes….Cuttyhunk is an amazing place to embrace the beauties of nature.  During my time at Cuttyhunk, the constant natural beauties never cease to impress me.

This Cuttyhunk gift is also an amazing location to explore by yourself.  I have walked around the entire island and found many secrets. 

At Cuttyhunk, independence can flourish because there are so many corners of the island to find and experience.  One time, I found the remains of a World War II bunker and even bones of a seagull. Most of the time, I like wandering around the island finding small pools of salt water where I stick my feet in and read a book. 

photo a. hinson
During my Cuttyhunk explorations, I do several things I don't normally do elsewhere:  I sing to myself, sometimes for hours while I walk around the island.

Moreover, everyone on Cuttyhunk is extremely kind and welcoming. Whenever I walk around the island, people say hello or wave as they pass by.  Friends may spontaneously give you a ride or invite you to go sailing with them. 

Cuttyhunk yacht club boats
There are many fun events like going to the tiny local church and freely choosing what hymns to sing. 

Once, there was a band that came and played old Elvis Presley songs.  Everyone on the island came and danced in the grass.  Children all held hands and danced in circles for at least two hours while adults were deep in conversation. 

photo a.hinson
There is also a library where I spend some of my time looking for great books that I can take to the beach and read. 

There is absolutely no place on Cuttyhunk Island where you cannot receive a warm smile.  Cuttyhunk Island is the greatest gift I have ever received.  In my opinion, the greatest gifts in life are experiences, not tangible items.

Sofia Corona
Aged 11

Thank you Sofia, for your gift to us.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The holiday season has me in a mood . . . (giveaway inside this blog!)

Actually, several moods. They pretty much change every ten minutes, from appreciative of people's generosity toward the burned-out relative of a neighbor of mine, to irritated at the constant Christmas music blaring from a huge speaker at a house up the block, back to appreciative of people shopping downtown instead of at malls an hour away, back to irritated that everyone feels the need to do so much shopping at all.

Yes, I am in the running for the Scrootch 

award this year.

Much like every year.

So I've been thinking hard, (and yes, it hurts) and I believe I might have come up with a way to extend the appreciative and curb the irritation. 

Hmm, that kind of sounds like a 50's song lyric.
But I digress.

So welcome to my Scrootch avoidance plan for 2014.

1. Buy small, homegrown, or local.

Buy an autographed or personalized copy of  Coyote Summer at and I will donate the profit from the sale to our local food pantry. And they could use all the help they can get.

or- B. Give gifts.

Buy 2 copies  of Coyote Summer because everyone has a child/grandchild/niece or nephew. Give one to your local library or local elementary or middle school. Actually, I have no control over this. Do what you will with them. Just remember the blood, sweat and ink that was sacrificed . . . (Oops, I digress again. Pardon.)

Not only will I donate the profits but I will send you, ABSOLUTELY FREE an autographed copy of my memoir with recipes, Cuttyhunk: Life on the Rock. 

This is actually a triple win because now you will have an emergency gift for aunt Hilda when she brings you over an unexpected fruitcake. Or, even better, a gift for your child's school or sunday school teacher. Cookies are so old hat.

You give, I give, you give again, The food pantry gives. (and probably aunt Hilda gives the book away as well. It's the gift that keeps on giving.)

Start the ball rolling. 
(Irritation is so unattractive in a woman my age)

And we thank you.