One of my favorite books for writers is Lawrence Block’s TELLING LIES FOR FUN & PROFIT, which taught me it’s okay to make stuff up.
So I do. Take my novel, TIDES OF THE HEART. Early on, we see an odd young woman named Karin, dressed in a long sarong, aimlessly strolling the beach at West Chop on the Vineyard, picking up colorful bits of sea glass—lots of sea glass—that she later click-clicks whenever she remembers the awful thing she’s done.
I lied. Aside from the fact I never met such a young woman, I knew that the act of her collecting colorful bits of sea glass on an aimless stroll simply would not be possible.
Sea glass is hard to find! Wampum is a dime a bucket but sea glass? Oy.
Over the year, my beach-walking has turned up only three or four pieces, all about the size of a pinkie fingernail: one blue, a few green, one clear piece that was bigger than the others but turned out to be a rock.
Yesterday, however, was a different story.
It was a warm-for-February afternoon. I chose Bend-in-the-Road Beach for its relatively flat surface and its views over to Cape Cod on a clear day.
As I walked, my head, as usual, was bent, my eyes grazing the sand for wampum because as I’ve said before, I can’t help myself. (An ad in the MV Times for C.B. Stark Jewelers of Vineyard Haven says they’re buying wampum; maybe I’ll make my fortune there!) Anyway, I’d brought a bag on my outing because I’m sick of trying to remove grains of sand from inside my pockets. Besides, like with eating chocolate, I usually end up with more than I intended.
So there I was, walking along, eyes peeled, when suddenly . . . suddenly . . . a powder-blue-colored round thing—almost the size of the bottom of a jar of peanut butter—was at my foot. It wasn’t moving, so I decided it wasn’t a living organism. I leaned down for a closer look; I saw that it was frosted, often a telltale sign that what once had been an ordinary piece of glass had since been tossed and tossed by salt water tides and transformed into . . . yes! . . . authentic sea glass!
I said something out loud. I quickly scooped it up. Holy cow, it really was a magnificent specimen! I didn’t dump it in my wampum bag but instead held it safely and kept walking. Not ten feet away was a slightly smaller, but equally lovely, pale aqua piece of sea glass. Then a dark green one, followed by a bright green one, which was the tiniest, but still thumbnail size.
What a day, huh? Karin would have been elated.
I snapped this photo as proof. I put a quarter in the shot to show what my engineer friends would call “spatial relationship.”
I went back to the same beach today, walked almost an hour, bagged a bunch of wampum. I thought I saw a small piece of red sea glass (the rarest, I’ve been told), but it turned out to be plastic.
And that’s the truth.
THANK YOU for the Lawrence Block book title. I’ve completely read up everything of his in my town’s and neighboring towns libraries. Any suggestions by him on writing are well worth listening to. (Yeah, I know I ended with a preposition.)
It’s legal now. 🙂