Thursday, October 23, 2014

Working Writer Update

Well, let's see... I was on vacation for the second half of September and didn't crack open the laptop once. Been back for three weeks, but haven't gotten back into the swing of things yet... But, at least, I finished editing a book for another writer! Wanted to get it done before my trip, but still had the last four chapters to go. Did them today- yay!

Tomorrow, I will work on something of mine. Either starting that novel Draft Six, or rework some short pieces waiting for revision. Although...

We are essentially one week away from the start of NanoWriMo! I plan to loosely outline at least two story ideas I have. They are both based on dreams I've had. And, then, at some point, I must get back to that rough first draft from last year's NaNoWriMo... So much to do!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Writer's Paradise? Ghosts, Cats, Sunsets, And Art in Key West and Florida

I spent the past two weeks in Florida. My parents moved into a house in Sun City Center, just south of Tampa, and we all took a trip to Key West, too. The weather was hot, humid, and rainy. Wonderful thunderstorms, and not TOO hot and humid... just way more than I'm used to, anymore. I brought my laptop, but, I must admit, it sat, unopened, in my suitcase the entire time I was gone. Must get back into the swing of things, now, which is fine, since Seattle is at the tail end of summer, and we will be moving towards colder, wetter weather, which is perfect for writing.

A few highlights:

The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg was amazing. 17 of his 18 masterworks, housed in a three-year-old building made of geometric glass panels and a central spiral staircase, surrounded by the "Avant Garden" which has a labyrinth, mathemateical pathways, a bench with a melting clock draped over it, a twenty-some-foot long metal moustache, and a wishing tree. We spent the day there, and I got a T-shirt with the image of "Hallucinogenic Toreador" on it. I can't wait to go back.

The Asa Tift/Ernest Hemingway House in Key West was also a place I could've spent the entire day, but didn't.Nearly sixty cats, half of which are polydactyl and all of which are descended from Hemingway's cat Snowball, roam the grounds freely. You can roam the house, the grounds, and the carriage house writing studio on your own, and/or take a guided tour. We did both, ending in the gift shop, which sells a lot of books, souvenirs, t-shirts, and postcards. My husband managed to capture a photo of a lady ghost in one of the rooms! I forgot my phone at the hotel, so I didn't even have a chance to try for that. But the spirits are active, there, as they are all over Key West.

The Key West Cemetery was one such active place. We took a walk there one morning and had the place practically to ourselves. Very cool grave sites and a variety of ghosts. And most surprising of all> Iguanas! We saw a huge iguana (maybe eight feet long, tip to tail) and it's family of five scurry beneath a crypt. We managed to catch another, smaller, greener iguana posing atop another crypt (most of the graves are above ground, due to the hard, undiggable rock beneath) for photos.

We did take a Ghost Trolley Tour, as well, one night, and got to "meet" Robert the Doll - a famous cursed/possessed/haunted doll made by a fired Haitian nanny for a child Eugene Otto. It was neat that they gave us EMF detectors, but of course, no one picked anything up.

We swam in the gulf, which was lovely, salty, calm, and warm. The Atlantic side was murkier, and I have no idea what I was walking on- sponges?- and quickly turned around through the seaweed. I felt my left hand graze something rubbery, and looked down to find a twelve-inch Portuguese Man of War jellyfish floating right next to me! Yep, back to the gulf side waters for me!

St. Petersburg looked to be a cute historic district with lots of restaurants and shops and galleries that I look forward to exploring at another time. It reminded me a bit of Venice Beach, in California. We ate some great seafood in all places we went, and had Cuban bread, sandwiches, and cafe con leche in Key West.