Sunday, February 5, 2012

February 2-5, 2012

     Alas, we are without Internet at the condo these last three days!!! It’s killing us, especially since we had a bunch of missives planned, including bill paying. Pretty weird to admit I am addicted to the technology, but I am. I feel totally cut off. So here we are at Starbucks, getting caught up. BUT – I spend the days writing, so some good has come of it.
     It’s amazing how quickly we develop our rhythm. In the mornings, Vince and I have kept up our walks. We are determined to do this every day. Our mission is to go further as the weeks progress, within our 30 minute time frame. But first we have a coffee on the balcony and remark upon the day. Sun’s been up and brilliant for the last three days, just as it normally is in Manzanillo. No more cloud! The birds gather at the poolside, along the ocean, or on the palm trees surrounding our building. Schools of fish boil up here and there, some leaping into the air, and some vanishing into the sky with the help of a pelican.
     Later, I write and Vince chases birds with his camera (the kind with wings). Or he does crossword puzzles. In the afternoon, we dance in the pool for an hour.
     Friday, the weekenders arrived, noisy children and many people in one unit. Ah well. That was the advantage of filling this building with retired, quiet Canadians in the past!
     On Saturday morning, the whales come back. We are so excited. The entire building empties out to stand on the balconies or on the shore. We squeal and yell as the humpbacks perform just for us. They’re very close to shore (for whales) and Vince snaps a series of incredible pictures. They breach high out of water, turn in the air, and belly flop under in a spray of waves.  The sound of their enormous bodies hitting the surface echoes throughout the bay. They turn over on their backs and flipper to one another, slapping the water, rolling around in a synchronized swimming maneuver. We all watch in awe until their spouts show that they’ve headed back out to sea. 
     The waves are back, too: the lovely rolling pounding ones that lullaby me to sleep at night.
     On to the writing – just a little, I promise. Plus I have a question to ask of you. I am reading, at last, the book that my friend Ann-Marie gave me in the fall: On Writing by Stephen King. At the same time, I was finishing off the latest novel by Elizabeth George, easily my favourite mystery writer. Elizabeth breaks Stephen’s first three rules in the pages that I have left to read. I don’t go back to check on the rest. She uses passive verbs, the phrase “at the end of the day” (at least twice) and she doesn’t shy away from descriptions and adverbs. It’s fascinating.
     I would say I’m a fairly eclectic reader: I do love mystery the best, but give me a really great “literary” feast and I’m in heaven. (John Steinbeck and Margaret Laurence have a lot of space on my bookshelves.) I am known to read cozies, trashy beach novels and I do like a good thriller. I’ve even devoured some fantasy books. Now and then, a non-fiction (true crime – yay!) or an auto/biography keeps me going. So there isn’t really one style of writing that I like most or that I would pronounce as the best. It depends entirely on my mood. Sometimes I like the clean plot lines of a thriller and other times I love the dreamy descriptions of a literary writer.
     As Steve (my friend Stephen King that is) says, he must have something to say about writing since he’s been so successful for so long. And he does. I’m just not sure they’re rules. Maybe guidelines, preferences, this-has-worked-for-me’s. I read Elizabeth’s book on writing, too, and she has lots to offer as well. I keep all their advice in mind, plod on, and have to be true to my own voice in the end, whether it always works or not. I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my writing over the last few years.  Now I need to work on getting “my name” out there.
     I’ve got a children’s mystery on the go, plus another adult one. No more Emily Taylor. (At least, for now.) There’s even a cozy waiting its turn in the queue. So I may be an eclectic writer, too, which is perhaps not such a good thing. Although, there’s Steve again. He has written some pretty amazing books and short stories that are not horror, but border more on the fantasy side.
     So, here’s my question. What kind of an ending do you love and/or hate? Happy? Sad? Cliff-hanger? Exciting, crash-to-the-end kind? Describe your favourite ending. This is like a poll, but I don’t know how to set one up on my blog. So I’ll gather your answers and give the conclusion in a few days. You don’t have to sign up to leave a comment – just be “anonymous”. Although if you become one of my followers, I’d love it.
     In the meantime, here are some before-the-hurricane pictures, and some after, of our beach in front of our condo building.

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