>“Discovery consists in seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.”—Albert Szent-Gyoryi

When I read that quote in the middle of an article in VIE-people+places by Chris Kent, I knew he had a message for me. Kent is the man responsible for spear-heading the real estate sales here at Seaside since its beginning, in 1981. (Since then Chris has consulted in over 60 communities regionally, nationally, and internationally.) I say “here” at Seaside, because I’m writing this post from Seaside, Florida. Amazing place. It’s a warm April afternoon on the patio at Amavida Coffee. I picked up a copy of VID-people+places yesterday and have been enjoying this article.

Kent wasn’t interested in real estate sales when he met Robert Davis, Seaside’s founder. He had been reading fiction, philosophy, psychology, anthropology… and he found, in Seaside, “a laboratory to test whether people could understand and embrace depth and subtleties presented at a level beyond those found in a typical real estate brokerage office.”

He found all that and more. He found a place that didn’t need “selling” in the traditional sense. Seaside only needed to be discovered, and embraced. As he said, “Our role was shifting from ‘selling’ to acting as guides and interpreters of the physical and cultural elements of place.”

That’s what I’m doing this week, on vacation in next-door Seagrove Beach, and also hanging out here at Seaside as much as possible. Listening to local music while enjoying great food and wine on the patio at Café Rendezvous one night… watching sunsets on the beach other nights… reading some really good books (more on them in another post) … and taking a bit of a break from writing. But still thinking about my work… my essays, and especially my memoir. Thinking about how it needs more discovery.

Discovery is an important element in creative writing, whether fiction or nonfiction. The writer leaves something for the reader to discover… and even for herself—the writer—some room for discovery is essential to keep the story alive… open, not so tightly wound. This is really difficult for me. I like everything wrapped up neatly. Yeah, I’ve never been comfortable with loose ends. But I’m learning. And the beach helps. Several people have asked me what the bumper sticker on my car means: the waves represent the ocean, and sowal means South Walton County, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

I’m posting from Amavida Coffee in Seaside ‘cause there’s no wi-fi in our condo this time…

But it’s a great excuse to hang out in Seaside… and buy more pearls from Wendy and Jean-Noel Mignot at their shop, La Vie Est Belle , which is right next door to the Café Rendezvous Wine Bar.

This trip I got these earrings to match the necklace and bracelet from previous visits. The Mignots are going to be in Memphis with their jewelry at a show Memorial Day weekend… I’ll post details closer to the date and invite some friends to go with me!

So many treasures here… like the folks you meet from all over the place. Two of our “neighbors” at the condo this week are this couple from Atlanta… I caught them doing “bench aerobics”on the bench near our patio one morning..

and then I was even more impressed when the woman started doing pushups! Well, at least I did an hour walk on the beach every morning. And of course hubby got in his 5-mile run everyday on the bike and jogging path of nearby “highway” 30-A.

We had dinner at “Fish Out of Water” in the Watercolor Inn one night… and caught sunset on the balcony as we ravished our lemon drop martinis (yum!)…

Coffee every morning on our first-floor patio with steps to the beach was magical…

Tonight we’re headed to Stinky’s down on Santa Rosa … after enjoying “just one more sunset” in Seagrove…

I’m rambling now so I can hurry and post these photos while enjoying $2 Chardonnay from Modica Grocery’s “happy hour” …

We’ll be heading home on Monday, and I’ll get back to regular email, blogging and Twittering… but you know it’s been kinda’ nice to be less attached to it for a few days. This may be the most relaxed I’ve been in a while….

… searching for that lost shaker of salt….


  • caitlyn

    April 27, 2009
  • gailbhyatt

    April 28, 2009

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