This Place Rocks.

The other day I needed to do some reading—research for a new book I’m writing. It was hot inside my little house, yet I didn’t like the thought of closing myself into an air-conditioned space at the library on such a gorgeous day.

IMG_5377And then I thought about the Harbor View Hotel on North Water Street, or rather, I thought about its porch. Something about that porch intrigues me. It is nearly endless, with its iconic chairs that move gently in the breeze, beckoning their guests (and sometimes passers-by like me) to take a seat and enjoy the picture-postcard view of the lighthouse and the harbor and the serenity all around. (Actually, the porch and the whole hotel became a highly visible character in my latest book, VINEYARD MAGIC, but that’s a different story.)

I decided that, yes, the Harbor View was a perfect place to work. I gathered my research materials and meandered across town. I parked in front (A parking space! In Edgartown! In August!!!). I climbed onto the porch, slipped into one of the amazing rocking chairs, and acted as if I belonged there.

Oddly, as you can see in the photo here, no one was around. I would not have minded company, but it seemed that everyone was at the beach (or perhaps they were stuck in traffic at the Triangle or Stop ‘n Shop). The only folks I saw were those who pattered in and out of the front door of the hotel, juggling their coolers, kids, shovels, pails, and blankets, their happy laughter bouncing in the air. They didn’t stop to chat, though . . . they kept their eyes fixed across the water on the long shoreline of Chappaquiddick that awaited.

So I sat there, rocking and reading, for nearly two hours. I accomplished more than I had hoped. And when I was between chapters I realized that in my next life, or in this one at a later time, I would very much like to be a concierge at the hotel. Maybe next week I’ll stop by Human Resources and fill out an application.

In the meantime, I’ll be glad to just do my work while sitting on the porch. Hopefully, they won’t find out and want to charge me rent.

www.jeanstone.com

SPOTLIGHT on the Vineyard

IMG_4634Anyone who works at home knows there’s no such thing as a snow day . . . so, though buckets of nasty white stuff are once again blowing around outside with the kind of gusto that promises gargantuan accumulation, I am at my desk. Working. But that’s okay because there’s news to tell!

For fans of the film SPOTLIGHT, tomorrow evening promises to be special. The Vineyard Gazette has a terrific series called “Tuesdays in the Newsroom,” where islanders gather to learn interesting (and fun) bits about the ins and outs of this amazing weekly (twice weekly in season), 170-year old newspaper. On tap tomorrow is a guest speaker: Walter “Robby” Robinson, editor at large at the Boston Globe and head of the now famous SPOTLIGHT team that exposed the horrific story of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The team’s work earned them a Pulitzer Prize; their story was captured in the wonderful film SPOTLIGHT, which has been nominated for six Academy Awards. (Robinson’s part was played by Michael Keaton.) I’ve been told he’ll talk about investigative journalism, which should be terrific . . . as long as this blizzard is out to sea and the boat can get him here!

Speaking of Hollywood . . . in other news, a movie is apparently in development about the “Chappaquiddick incident”—that sad and tragic accident in the summer of 1969 when a young woman drowned in Senator Ted Kennedy’s car, as the headlines screamed back then.

I remember it clearly. I even referred to it in my novels a few times, especially in PLACES BY THE SEA, when two of my characters stood outside Duke’s County Courthouse and watched media frenzy as the story played out on Main Street, Edgartown—a scene that wound up changing both their lives. Most folks on the island don’t, or won’t, discuss the topic now. But Hollywood has knocked on the Vineyard’s door again (please, no references to JAWS), and it will be hard to either anticipate or disregard the antics sure to follow.

Enough said from my end. For details, read the Gazette article at: http://vineyardgazette.com/news/2016/02/04/coming-big-screen-near-you-chappaquiddick-movie.

Time to make more tea and get to work. I refuse watch the weather channel that will surely tell me there are sunny skies today in western Massachusetts!

Hello from Martha’s Vineyard.

IMG_3741

I’m back. I finally moved to Martha’s Vineyard . . . forever. Hooray! I’ve been asked why, as “a woman of a certain age,” I chose to sell, trash, or giveaway most of my possessions and move to the island. I think this photo says it all.

Okay, I know. It’s Charlie Brown. Anyone who’s on Facebook is no doubt sick to death of seeing kids and adults and cats and dogs in Halloween costumes, so, for this, I am sorry. But this Charlie isn’t like others you might have seen knocking at your door with a plastic bucket thrust out in search of Kit Kats. This Charlie Brown speaks to why I decided to make the Vineyard my new home.

As part of an annual fundraiser for Martha’s Vineyard Charter School, scarecrows have popped up all around the island. Not just ordinary scarecrows: they are recreations of favorite characters from children’s literature. (Literature! Books! Love it!!!) Charlie showed up on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Another of my favorites is Jack and the Beanstalk, the 8-foot recreation that stands down by the Chappaquiddick Ferry. Harry Potter is, of course, popular, and I love a wonderful replica from Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.

What a great place to live, where creativity is as fluid as the tides, and where inspiration appears on every street corner for young and old alike . . . and for folks “of a certain age,” which I like to think of as somewhere “in between.”

Stay tuned for my island adventures!

Excitement at the Chappaquiddick Ferry

It was an interesting day. I was headed to Chappaquiddick for the Book Club meeting, which was to be complete with wonderful cider, pound cake, apple kuchen, and jellies and jams (2 of the women are cleaning out their refrigerators, getting ready to leave the island for the winter).

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Because the meeting starts at 10:15, I left my place at 9:15. I am staying a five-minute walk from the ferry, so one might think you could swim to Chappy faster. ☺

In the mornings, however, there’s always a good line due to construction workers and the smaller On Time ferry that I’ve mentioned before.

I was right: there was a line, but not too long. I expected to reach the (other) island early, which would be great. I could spend some time exploring!

I took my place behind a dump truck that had a small bulldozer on a trailer that was hitched to the back.

Turning off my engine, I surveyed the line: several pick up trucks and panel trucks driven by handsome young Brazilians. One of the drivers was singing what sounded like a beautiful ballad in Portuguese. (I thought it was a love song, and that he must have a lucky girlfriend.)

We waited. Every few minutes we moved up a little. I kept checking my watch. Plenty of time.

Until…until it nearly was my turn. And someone decided that the truck in front of me had to remove the bulldozer. Apparently the small ferry couldn’t hold both the dump truck and the bulldozer simultaneously.

A flurry of activity ensued. One of the workers started up the dozer, backed it off the ramp. There seemed to be some confusion about what to do with it. Several minutes later it was decided the dozer would cross to Chappy without its truck or trailer.

But wait! The story does not end there! (It’s really getting exciting, no? Okay, bear with me.)

The dump truck crossed sans dozer. We were next! The earthmover and me! For some reason, though, it took an extra long time for the unloading and reloading process on the other side. Finally, the ferry began its trek back toward Edgartown and us.

Then everything went really weird. The On Time headed south (which is not unusual to compensate for the strong current). Then it spun around. Not kidding it spun around.

I gulped. I began to reconsider my commitment to the Book Club.

Finally the On Time reached the dock. And the vehicles backed off the boat. “Oh, man,” I thought. “I can’t back up straight. If I have to do that, I am toast.”

Before I could change my mind, the dozer was ambling toward the ferry and I was being waved on. Yikes.

Long story short, I made it. I did however, unclip my seatbelt and rolled down my windows. If they were going to spin this thing I was going to be ready for a swim.

I did not need to worry. Turns out the spinning was because one of the trucks that boarded on the “other side” had needed to back off for a technical reason. I have no idea what the further explanation was. Anyway, there was no spinning on my trip.

I was, however, late for the Book Club meeting.