>Sand Castles

Thoreau said, “Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

I took these pictures of sand castles this afternoon… my personal favorite is the mermaid, but it’s hard to see from the side. I posed beside the pyramid because of the Memphis connection. corny, huh? And the boys from the University of Alabama were so proud of their Beer Pong table they posed behind it and asked for a link to my blog. Hi, boys! Now, on with philosophizing about castles in the air.

Writing can be like that. First you dream. You imagine that short story, that poem, that novel. Or you envision that essay or that memoir. You might do a half dozen outlines and a couple of really bad first drafts (okay, I guess there’s no such thing as more than one first draft) and finally you get down to the hard work of building a foundation under that initial dream.

That’s what this writing retreat has been about for me. I’ve been dancing around those castles that I built in the air for a few years. First I wrote a novel but the characters were strapped with the impossible task of disguising truths that begged to be told. Not that fiction isn’t about truth. The best fiction reveals the truth more vividly that lots of nonfiction. But the genre wasn’t working for me. So, I published a few essays, and then got to work outliing a memoir. I got just over halfway through drafting it when I got stuck. Because I needed some space so I could create art, and not just record events. A memoir is not an autobiography. It’s a reflection on certain aspects of a life or events or people. I just made that definition up. Hope that’s right, ’cause that’s what I’m writing.
As Tolsoy said: “Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the secrets of his soul, and shows to people these secrets which are common to all…. it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.”
Now. I didn’t make that up.

So, I made lots of progress this week, and tonight I said goodbye to the beach… caught this guy boogie boarding just before sunset.

And finally I pulled up my umbrella and chair and put them in the trunk of my car for my departure early tomorrow morning. I’ll stop in Jackson to visit my mom. The nursing home called this morning to say they finally had to put a lap guard on her wheelchair to keep her from getting up and falling again. It’s a last resort–this morning they found her sitting on the floor by her bed, unhurt, but confused. She just can’t remember that she can’t walk on her hip because it never healed properly. What else can they do?

I’ll pick up some soft cookies from McAllister’s Deli, Mom’s favorites, and hopefully bring some sunshine from the beach into her life tomorrow. I’m sad to leave the beach, but I’ll be happy to be home with hubby and Oreo tomorrow night. G’nite all.
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