Normally, I’m not a beach person. Not sure why it’s that way — perhaps because my parents were never beach loungers but preferred to go lake fishing in the mountains when I was young. Or perhaps it was due to growing up on a small hobby farm where summers were packed full of growing and preserving food. Goofing off and playing? Heaven forbid — unless it involved foraging for food in some way.
Besides, I don’t like rain. And wet. And mold. I married a man who had dairy farmed on the Oregon Coast and he was also tired of gray and wet and all that comes with it.
Even when my parents bought a place on the central Oregon Coast, I never really developed a taste for the beach. We’d come over to visit friends and family, but — a coastal vacation has never been one of my first choices. We went to Key West a couple of times and I really didn’t know what to do with myself.
Nonetheless, when my sister-in-law needed some work done at her house near the beach, we came down from the land of rapidly receding ice and snow during spring break this year. Since husband had the assistance of a nephew, I viewed this trip as an opportunity to kick out the jams on my writing. It had been over a year since I’d successfully completed the first draft of a novel — though I had suffered through an attempted rewrite of a novella I got the rights back to, had written a number of essays and short stories and even a couple of poems, I still hadn’t gotten my novel writing pace back. Normally, novel pace in rough draft means banging out around 2000–2500 words a day. I was fighting to get 1000 words down over the course of several hours. With the nephew available to do the work, I not only had the uninterrupted time to write, but I could bash myself into the routine which meant I could resume my typical novel pace.
2000k happened the first day, though it was a battle. The second day was also a fight, but I celebrated by taking a long beach walk since it was a sunny day, and bought myself a pint of Grand Marnier as a reward before starting work on an editing project.
I’m going to be sick of Grand Marnier by the end of the week.
But the words are flowing again. By the third day, 2k was happening in two hours. I had a routine going where I reviewed what I had written before, then forged ahead with new stuff. This novel, the last in my fantasy trilogy, Choices of Honor, didn’t want to be as rigorously plotted as my Netwalk Sequence stories. I knew what my main story beats were, and as I wrote, more stuff kept piling on in. Still, I’m hitting the approximate rough draft story beats in a timely manner.
(And no, this is not the end of stories in the Goddess’s Honor world. There will be a new set of books focused on something that popped up during the prewriting for Choices but I’ve got to do a lot more worldbuilding before I get there. Plus I have other stories that have been patiently waiting for me to turn to them.)
Meanwhile, in my beach and town walks, I marveled at the behavior I observed. Keep in mind that the northern Oregon Coast during spring break is not Florida, the Caribbean, Hawaii, or Mexico. It is usually cold and wet — and despite the gorgeous weather of my first beach walk, the rest of the week has been cold and rainy.
But. I saw people sitting out on the beach in lawn chairs. Some folks wearing swimsuits and splashing in the surf….BRRR. The Pacific Ocean here is freezing even during the summer! Lots of sand castle building, and drawing in the sand — including drawings that were clearly the work of young middle school boys (penises, lots and lots of penises. Don’t ask me why boys do this. I saw enough of it while teaching middle school…and the culprit was always a boy).
All the same, I spotted several blue herons feeding in the surf during a rainy walk on the beach. Gray digger squirrels running along the rip-rap (large boulders placed as a barrier to keep the sand from washing out from expensive beachfront condominiums). The occasional surf fisherman, though I never saw any fish getting caught. A couple of moon jellies washed up on the sandy beach.
At one point I took refuge in an oceanfront bar and sipped mint tea with a shot of bourbon while scribbling notes. Classic coastal writer behavior, right?
The interlude ends tomorrow. I’m hoping to get time to dash off a few thousand words early on tomorrow. Then it’s back to driving to a friend’s, perhaps another day of uninterrupted writing, and then back to NE Oregon where, I hope, most of the snow has melted so that I can get serious about both writing and conditioning the horse.
That is, if the damn horse doesn’t decide to keep chasing after the yearling elk she’s adopted as a baby. But that’s another story.