Monday, February 27, 2012

Keys Disease

I've got a bad case of Keys Disease. I don't want to accomplish much of anything. It's hot and humid, too hot to sit around the house working on the computer. I need to be outside in the breeze, preferably in sight of the ocean where I can hear the wind whipped surf and take a dip when I get too warm. I am hypnotized by the sun poured like liquid silver on the surface of the water. I have baked my brain. I can barely put a sentence together, and that's before happy hour. Write a book? I swear on Ernest Hemingway's ghost it's just impossible. A friend who has spent the past 20 winters down here calls it Keys Disease. And even he isn't immune. Most people lose track of the date or the day of the week, but it's so laid back here that when I asked my friend if the weather would change much in March and he said. "What month is it?"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Living in suits

There was a time when businessmen -- and women -- lived in suits. Times have changed and even when it isn't casual Friday, most business people have slipped the suit's snare. Personally, I've moved to the opposite extreme. I'm in my third year of retirement, and we're in our third month living in the Keys. It is so warm (85 degrees today) that I've taken to wearing my swim suit even if I'm not planning on swimming. This life "suits" me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Learning from kids

I just finished the John Lithgow biography, Drama: An Actor's Education, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. One of my favorite stories happens in his early career when the 6-foot-4 actor is cast as Lenny, the large but simple man in John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" . Although he is better known for more debonair personalities, Lithgow found the opportunity of playing Lenny exciting. But the biggest challenge was the rowdy teenage audiences that came to the student matinees at Princeton's McCarter Theater. The play's tenderness and melancholy was lost on the rambunctious kids who laughed at all the wrong spots and made fun of Lenny.Lithgow took on the quest and by adjusting the show's pacing was able to squeeze out inappropriate laughter and comments. "By our last "Of Mice and Men" matinee, we had learned to cast a spell over an audience of teenage kids. They laughed all right, but only when we wanted them to. And when we wanted them quiet, you could hear a pin drop... By the end of our run the show had vastly improved. And I believe it was the student matinees that had improved it. We hadn't learned all that much from the adults who had come to see us, but those kids had taught us volumes."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

Wings win!
Sometimes it's good to know my tastes are so popular. Steve and I were in Key West today. A rain storm sideswiped our original outdoor lunch plans so we were lunching inside at Hurricane Hole (appropriate for the weather) and the first thing on the menu, pulled pork nachos with black beans, sounded great so we shared a plate. Then we headed back to "our" key (three months and we think we own the place), Big Pine Key. Steve suggested stopping in at the chicken wing bar at Winn Dixie and taking home a pound for dinner during the game. Then I'm surfing the net to find out exactly when the game starts and I'm reading the story on the Huffington Post, and guess what? The number one munchie for the game is wings, followed closely by nachos.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Crazy time

It's been a good week. I added four more chapters to my next book, One Shoe Off. My chapters are short and I just finished Chapter 31 so I'm about a third of the way through the book. Until this week I've been rewriting and reworking the first 27 chapters that I wrote earlier so this is the first week since we came down to the Keys that I've really been creating. Writing fiction is so invigorating, but sometimes I think it's the closest thing to insanity. This week I've spent a lot of time in the minds of my characters. Trying to hear what they would say, understand what they would do. But after a while they become so real it is frightening. This morning, for instance, I'd been working on a scene, writing in my nightgown. I came to the end of the scene and decided to take a break and get dressed. The thought actually crossed my mind to close the door so my male character wouldn't see me undressed. Isn't that crazy? I suspect it's a lot like it must be for an actor digging deep inside themselves to feel what their character is feeling