I am tired and sad, and so I think I’ll write about what I want to happen in the next year.
First, I want to finish the academic work I’m doing.
Second, I want to create a life for myself in which I can do the things I love, spend time with the people I love. I have this image in my mind of going down to North Carolina, renting a house on the beach, asking my best writer friend to come stay with me so we can both write there. It’s always nicer to share something with someone, whether ice cream or an experience. And I specify my best writer friend because I can’t imagine anything better than sharing both the ocean and writing.
Imagine waking up, taking a long walk on the beach, collecting shells. I haven’t been to the ocean in a long time, but I still remember how the sand feels beneath my feet, how the water curls around my ankles. In North Carolina, the beaches are lined with old houses, faded from sun and salt, sitting behind the dunes. And there are pelicans drifting overhead. And the wind in the sea oats makes a particular sort of sound, a shushing that you can hear all night, together with the shush of the waves.
Imagine having breakfast and then getting to work, spending the morning writing. Lunch, and then talking about what was accomplished that morning, about how the novels are going. (These are to be novels, of course.) Reading sections aloud. Troubleshooting.
A nap in the afternoon, curled up in that warm air.
Dinner would be seafood of some sort, fish or crab. I still remember the crabs we ate when we went to the ocean, when I was a child. Directly off the brown paper spread on the table, using a mallet to break the shells. The simplest foods are always the best.
And then perhaps sitting on the beach, talking in the darkness. About all sorts of things, talk as rambling as one of the beach roads, as comfortable as an old quilt. I still remember how moonlight looked on the waves, and the stars overhead. So many stars!
And finally, sleeping. There is nothing like sleeping near the ocean, listening to the waves all night long. It’s like being rocked by the earth itself. I have always slept well, by the beach.
I have thought, from time to time, of doing something like this with a group of friends, of inviting a group of writer friends to come to the ocean with me and just write. But first perhaps with one person, whom I know and whose writing I know well. (And yes I’m thinking of someone specific, and yes you know who you are, and yes this is code for get working on that novel, because I want to read it! And critique it. By the ocean.)
Tonight I am tired and sad, and I want to rent a house on the beach in North Carolina, and I want to start working on a novel. For now, the fantasy of it will have to do, because there’s work to be done. But eventually, after my academic work is finished – then, it will be time for the real thing. (And I’ll probably get a sunburn on my nose. But that’s all right.)