Island Writing

One morning two weeks ago I found myself at Hawksnest Beach on the north shore of St. John, an hour early for the outdoor AA meeting. It was a cool, cloudy day. The beach looked smaller with no one on it. I sat at a picnic table that slanted toward the water at a sharp angle requiring me to dig my heels into the sand to keep my butt from slipping off the seat. As usual, I used the journal to muddle through an issue that was bugging me. Had my internet detox at Maho Bay Camps shown how out of whack my online obsession had become? My friend Kes Woodward, a painter whose techno enthusiasm nearly matches my own, had expressed feelings of being overwhelmed by e-mail lately, in a long and articulate e-mail. I was also chewing on a sharp exchange I’d had with Darlene’s sister Deb the day before. I had been waxing grandiose about my Edward Said review, and Deb had accurately pointed out, “It’s just a book review.” At Hawksnest, I let the record show we were both right. It WAS just a book review, but it was one I’d been working on for five months that I wanted to be the best I could make it. (The piece was accepted for publication in the next issue of RAIN TAXI, I learned a week later in an e-mail from the editor.) With those worries out of the way, I scanned the horizon and found the turquoise of the sea muted but still distinctly Caribbean. When I scanned future writing projects, I found a similar mutedness but a distinct hunch that it’s time to begin work on an essay about videogames, with the door in perhaps being my Maho-isolation play of Super Mario 64 on the new Nintendo Dual Screen (DS). By the time I’d completed two full pages of writing, interspersed with my usual flipping back to read prior entries, in this case one I’d written just after returning from France, I found myself at a usual place of muted optimism, distinctly my own voice pressing forward. I am tempted to quote the concluding sentence, but I balk as I start typing it out. A writer who quotes his own journal in his blog is one to be feared and avoided.

This will probably be the last of my island writing this trip. Darlene has begun packing here on the patio of the studio apartment at Frank Bay. This afternoon I’ve rented a dinghy so she, Deb and I can explore the north shore, especially the famed Honeymoon Beach. Tomorrow morning we will roll our bags to the dock at Cruz Bay for the 50-minute ferry trip to Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, then take a taxi to the airport for a US Airways flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, and a connecting flight to Denver. Then it will be Hello to Mile High Winter, and the RTD bus to Market Street Station, and rolling the bags up 16th Street to the Barclay, hi to the concierge, squeeze into the elevator to the 11th floor and home.

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