Sunday, July 31, 2011

The size of it. This time last year we were in Culebra—and I still think of walks there, and the people I talked to in the town, and the fish in the reef off Luis Pena--and the ferry, and the sound of bachata that is so sweet and filled with longing and blind confidence. And how nothing seemed to be going right. And trying to plan. And in a year a lot has changed. Here we are—now—launched to this place in North Carolina, and the people I talk to, who I would never meet if I lived a life I controlled (like the man with the lopsided body in the swimming pool who tells me about his autistic daughter), and I think how much I learn this way, how much better it is that I have made the choice to let go of things, which, once you start, is a process that is hard to stop. Here in the 100 degree heat, and as usual there’s a job to do. The pieces of a household, things we take for granted on land, like toilets and refrigerators and water. We work around these things, like some kind of nouveax pioneers. Letting go of things, making something new.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My new "office"

The trick to getting anything done is to tell people you're doing it. So I tell people I'm working on a novel. The other trick is finding a place to work.

I vividly remember sitting on a picnic table somewhere on the coast of northern California. I was talking on the phone, and I was saying something to the effect of, I’ve left everything behind. I don’t know who I am anymore. 

I can see the sun glinting off the vast expanse of the Pacific, and the grass, and the orange-brown of the picnic table. There were people there, a family with two sons, on vacation. A quaint notion to me now. Vacation. 

And I find it a testament to what’s happened between then and now that I’m sitting on another coast, the Atlantic, this time, on another boat, getting ready to take off. The future feels exactly as unknown as it did that December day in California. There’s a world of difference between then and now, but I’m still not sure who I am.

Friday, July 22, 2011


"Oh silk and fur,
How could that scratch the furniture?"

by Tallulah

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My current state of mind

Writing from the deck of the "clubhouse" of the Whittaker Pointe Marina in Oriental, North Carolina. It's a nice night. Life is good. All I want to do is hide out. More reflections to follow.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sitting at the Dairy Inn across from the Flamingo Sports Bar—with a picture of Jack Kerouac, black and white, blown up, to the left of the door. Tallulah is eating ice cream, a mountain of strawberry ice cream, her spoon digging delicate little bites of pink from a styrofoam cup, and I’m staring out across the street, beyond the handyman here on his break, across Martin Luther King Jr Avenue to the little green shack of a bar where Jack Kerouac drank (my brother-in-law tells me) whiskies and a wash—cheap and plentiful. Maybe he’s an unquiet spirit, hanging out at this busy crossroads with a message, for I can’t take my eyes from the photograph, the pale face with its wondering eyes. And I can’t stop seeing him bent over the toilet, blood streaming from his mouth, lifting his head to call out to his wife—“Stella—I can’t stop bleeding.” Maybe he came here sometimes, on his way to or from the Flamingo Bar, maybe he sat on a white picnic bench just like this one, looking out across the street. Hey—I hope you can rest in peace, Jack. I have received you.