Friday, February 10, 2012

February 5-10, 2012

     One of the delights of our walks is spying and hearing all the birds as they hop around the branches in the quiet of the morning. The colours that seem to be predominant this year are yellow and orange: at any rate, those are the ones that have caught our eyes. Vince loves it when we discover a new species. He goes directly to his Birds of Mexico book to look them up and list them. We have found the white-ringed flycatcher, for instance. About the size of a robin, it's very distinctive with its yellow neck, which turns white at the head, with a black streak that circles the white along the beak and over the top of its head. Looks like s/he is wearing a mask. We've also seen the black-vented oriole for the first time. Again the size of a robin, this bird is jet black, with a yellow-orange breast. (See the pictures.)

     Of course there are the magnificent frigates, who soar on the breezes far overhead, and the graceful terns who call to one another as they skim the waves. Pelicans are numerous, diving into the sea where they gulp down a fish, sometimes so big they have to wiggle it through their gullets. The pigeons here are gorgeous, so many colours and patterns. They tiptoe up to the pool to have a drink, coo at us all day. Vultures hover when a dead fish washes up on the sand.
     One day we spied something that looked like a huge eel on the shore. Someone told us it was a barracuda. The vultures were extremely interested, but the body was too close to the umbrellas. A kind soul took it away before the smell became overwhelming.
     I know I've mentioned my grackles before. My guy who talks to me hasn't shown up very often. And I'm thrilled that my willet and curlew are back! I've written a children's storybook about them (kind of fudging the facts) and Vince is going to put pictures with it. First, Maire has to edit and approve.
     Last night, we spent hours on our balcony with Maire and John, just watching the sun set. Look at the sample of pictures that Vince got! The sky was so magnificent, it was like being at a play or fireworks: we oohed and ah-ed all night.

     We're also entertained by the ships - a big cruise ship, one cargo ship that carries a helicopter on its back.
      Some time while I merrily slept, the promised rain came barrelling in. Vince got up and brought the furniture in from the balcony and I heard nothing. Today is a grey one, with a light rain falling. Perfect for shopping (hop on a bus, take a cab back) and writing.
     The readers who answered my question about endings don't prefer happy ones, thank goodness. I'm not contemplating one for this book. But in the last few days, I've made a breakthrough I think. I believe I know where it's going, although that's not always the case when I get there.
     I'm always so lucky with being able to correspond with different writers and readers. Melodie and Cheryl Freedman are great friends as well as fellow writers, at various stages in our careers, and we share our processes and thoughts freely with one another. The Imajin Nation group, formed by our publisher, is an endless source of inspiration and encouragement, as well as information. Judy, whom I have known for many years but only just realized is an excellent writer, is just beginning to think about putting her memoirs into a book. She's had such a difficult journey so far in her life, fraught with tragedy and grief: I think her story would be encouraging to others who have suffered. Bev continues to be a source of inspiration, too. She is obsessed with her writing and willing to do anything to get just the right tone and technique. That's the sign of a real writer. I received an excerpt of a book about the south of France from a friend of a friend, and I am blown away by the potential. Although I haven't been able to meet with them yet, I've just been asked to join a group of CWC women writers, and I can't wait for the sharing to begin. I still have my MCM group too: we've been friends and fellow writers for 36 years. Having these connections is absolutely invigorating and necessary!
     I've finished the last proof of Legacy and now I have the cover. When I get back, the marketing work will restart. In the meantime, off to see where Sweet Karoline will really go...

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