Kate Flora: Hi, all. I am subbing in today for Lea Wait, so I apologize if you think you’ve already heard enough from me recently. As is often the case, when a post is due, I wander around wondering what to write about. Sometimes, the topic is immediately obvious, such as last weeks about the adventure and challenge of editing my mother’s book; other time, it is a challenge to think of something that might interest the readers here at Maine Crime Writers. So today, as I am sitting on a screened lanai, surrounded by palm trees, taking a break from trying to put more action into my ninth Thea Kozak mystery (at the moment, a reporter who breaks into a student’s dorm room,) I thought I’d share a bit of life on “my islands.”
What are “my islands?” First and foremost, of course, Bailey Island, Maine, where from April until October I happily do my writing at the ocean’s edge. Being about sixteen miles from the closest stores, springing, summering, and falling on Bailey is kind of a pack in, pack out experience. When I’m not sitting the third floor office we built two years ago working on a book (absolutely a room with a view), I am putting in my gardens, or in my kitchen (which is also a room with a view) or taking a quick walk out to the Giant’s Stairs or down to Land’s End.
The view from our little cottage is endlessly changing. Lobster boats, The schooner Alert, storms flying in off the ocean, and gorgeous Maine sunsets are all a part of the rhythm of the day.
My other island is Sanibel Island, off the Gulf Coast of Florida, where for many years I have spent the month of March. Many, hearing that I spend a month in Florida, must imagine an endless vacation, with beach walks and swimming while my skin turns a rich brown and my hair goes sun streaked blonde. Mostly, though, while I am barefoot and wearing shorts and my Bangor Police Department Duck of Justice tee-shirt, I am sitting at my keyboard, working many hours a day.
True, at the end of the work day, I can take a swim in the pool or a walk on the beach. There are some gin and tonics involved, and one or two drives through the “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. There is the occasional morning bike ride to Noah’s Ark, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church thrift store. I will come home at the end of the month with a small bag of shells, something new from Noah’s Ark, and hopefully, a lot of work done.
March is also the month where my husband and I go to the gym together every other day, so April is the month of the year when I am thinnest. Right now it is early in the month, and so I ache all over. But it will be worth it. Meanwhile, I sit surrounded by a creaking tree, rustling palms, and–as in Maine–the strange, infantile cry of osprey overhead, staring at the page in the latest Thea, wondering what crimes the intrusive reporter has committed.
p.s. I thought you might enjoy these photos from a professional, Doug Bruns, in Harpswell and my friend Richard Howard in the yard in Florida