goals, Magic of the Everyday, Moving, Personal Life, Writing

New Jersey Home


The ocean called us, and we went. Hubby and I have ventured to the ocean a few times now, just for quick visits in the late winter/early spring chill. Even with the sun shining, the winds coming off the ocean are cold, and they’ll whistle in your ears, making them ache if you don’t wear proper hats. (now I really sound like my mother–sigh)

mermaidWalking the beach, I saw my first mermaid’s purse. These strange-looking things are skate egg cases; those with a slit in them have hatched. I love the myth-resonant name “mermaid’s purse.” Can you see the scaled tale slipping beneath the surface as you approach and see what she left behind? I also love the science of what they really are, and how knowing that brings more respect to their bizarre look. Which is why I’m fully stuck between my loves for fantasy and science fiction. Neither is more important to me, which can be tough as I try to discover what to write.

I was surprised by how many people are using the beaches in winter. After all, it’s cold. I was glad for my winter jacket, wished for a better hat to cover my ears and kept my hands firmly inside my pockets despite having light gloves. (I admit it, I’m a wimp!) Still, surfers encased in full-body wetsuits braved the cold Atlantic waters, trying to grace a wave into shore. I got colder just looking at them. Brrr! And it makes me wonder where the line is between bravery and foolishness. For me to attempt that would be foolish, as I get frostbitten easily. But those surfers seemed to be enjoying themselves somehow.surfer

Signs of Sandy were everywhere: missing lampposts, parking meters, even the boardwalk. Homes crumpled, some just boarded up, a few up on stilts that let you look through the missing foundations–in one side and out the other. Construction crews were like ants, swarming public property as well as private. Household items washed ashore, more than littering would account for–or maybe they were washing off-shore when the waters receded. For me it was a sobering reminder that Nature is beautiful, but uncaring, and deserves far more respect than we humans usually give her.

This week returns me to writing on my normal schedule. Yay! Thanks to a nudge from a fellow Clarion West applicant, I’m participating in the Shock Totem Flash Fiction Challenge for the first time. You sign up and are given a prompt, then have a week to write a 1000-word or less story and post it on their site. All the stories are posted anonymously and voted on by the other writers, and winners are chosen. I’ve finished the draft, now have to shine it up nice and pretty before submitting it. (Cross your fingers for me.)

Two other stories are waiting impatiently for me to finish them. I started one the week the movers arrived, the other the first day we moved into this apartment and sat around on folding chairs with nothing to do and no access to my other files. Which means I have to wrap up this post and get to work–I want both first drafts done by the end of the week. Time to make up for “lost time.”

Happy writing!