Journal: My Respite…..the Bat House – Nov 6, 2017

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When I went in search of a Pine Island sunrise, I found fog, but I also found a gem of a tiny park in the community of Matlacha. This park is called Bat House Park and you can see the Bat House and plaque in these pictures. There are also a few benches, a small number of parking places, and an awesome place to fish in Matlacha Bay.

This bat house is for the Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat which can eat up to 3,000 insects each in a night. It’s located at the base of the “fishingest bridge in the world” and is a great use of a tiny pocket of land.

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Journal: My Respite….Making it Home

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Do you see the images out there in the fog? Those are shrimp boats in the Matlacha, FL harbor. When I looked at this scene, my thought was “the ghost ships of Matlacha,” but they are not ghosts. They are real fishing boats. I took this picture yesterday morning, through the fog. I had come to Matlacha to take a picture of the sunrise, but it was socked in with fog.

Matlacha is a tiny village adjacent to Pine Island. It was a commercial fishing village turned, now, into an artist’s colony. It is a collection of neon-colored buildings housing art galleries and great restaurants. It’s very much an “old Florida” place and is only one of the villages in the Pine Island complex. I love many of the restaurants in Matlacha and will feature them in this blog as I visit them. Even though there isn’t as much commercial fishing in Matlacha as in the past, the industry still exists there as you can see by the shrimp boats in the fog.

Today, I plan to visit the Island Seafood Market in Matlacha where many of the fishing boats come in for the night. They have some of the best, fresh seafood in the late afternoon that I’ve ever eaten, after the fishing boats unload their fare. The staff is extremely knowledgeable about the seafood and can even tell the novices about preparation. I’ll let you know what I buy and have for dinner in this blog tomorrow!

We had fog yesterday and today. It’s odd for my beautiful island, although it happens occasionally at this time of year. I’m looking forward to the fog clearing so I can go to Matlacha in the early morning and photograph the sunrise, which is as beautiful on Pine Island as the sunset.

Today is a beautiful sunny day on Pine Island. We are trying to figure out what to do about our failing A/C and refrigerator. I’m still trying to unpack and will complete that task today. I also hope to get to the Bokeelia pier to get a new sunset picture in the late afternoon. I have an appointment in Ft. Myers today.

All of this means that I will probably not have time to write until evening. I am a little behind with  my word count for NaNoWriMo, but not much. I hope to catch up tonight.

I’m trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ll be here for 5-6 months. That’s a long time to be away. So I’m taking some time to make my place on my island in the sun home.

 

Journal: My Respite…..Really? Nov. 5, 2017

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Life does indeed get in the way, doesn’t it. I’ve been in South Florida only a little over 48 hours. I knew there would be some upfront recovery time from the trip and some upfront time to set up my home again after being gone for many months. I was prepared for all that. I was even prepared for a little hurricane damage. But, my friends who had advised me of the hurricane damage couldn’t know the extent of it.

It seems that dear Hurricane Irma (please notice that I am not cursing though I want to) decided to, more or less, take out our central air conditioning unit as she passed our way. I assume it was water that did it, although there is no way to know now. It is also interesting that, suddenly, the refrigerator is also not working. Water? Probably. But again, no way to know. The hurricane was weeks ago. The moral to the story is if a hurricane is ever in the vicinity of your property, don’t do what I did. Don’t wait weeks to check on it. GO CHECK ON IT right afterwards. Being a hurricane novice, what did I know? So now, I get to purchase a new A/C unit and probably a new refrigerator. Thanks, Irma.

Do you know what it is like in South Florida with minimal A/C and refrigeration? Hell. That’s what it is like. Oops. Cursing. Yesterday, it was 90 degrees here. Yes, in November.

I’m going to talk to FEMA. Not that I think it will do any good at this late date, but a girl can ask, right? Maybe they will at least send someone to check and make an assessment. Next year. That’s how far behind they are running. I have to have A/C and refrigeration NOW, not next year.

Since I am ranting, I will continue! Let me tell you what the news media does NOT report. Bonita Springs, FL is a pretty major community around here. Hurricane Irma was weeks and weeks ago. Bonita Springs is STILL under water!! Has anyone even heard about that!? How can this not be a news story? Apparently, a river in the area came out of its banks and just never receded. ??? I think Bonita Springs needs FEMA and help beyond FEMA. The National Guard? Something? Does the U.S. now just leave our citizens under water?

As you know, I am here for a respite and to write. So far, respite? Zero. Writing? If you’re reading this, you are reading the first thing I’ve written since arriving on my island and it is 3:40 a.m. That might emphasize my day to you.

On the upside, I did visit the pier this evening and was lucky enough to see some friends who I haven’t seen in months there. Beautiful cobalt blue water and the pink aftermath of the sunset. Picture above. The Gulf/Bay was whitecapping tonight.

I forget that it is morning! It may be my morning to try to catch a sunrise. After all, why go to bed now! Sunrise is only 2.5 hours away and a friend told me tonight about a wonderful place to catch it.

Stay tuned…..

 

 

Journal: My Respite on my Island in the Sun – Nov 3, 2017

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Photo copyright Rosemary Carlson

It’s Day 1 of my respite on my island in the sun and Day 3 of NaNoWriMo 2017. I arrived around 2 p.m. on my island after several rather hard days of traveling by car. I feel like the interstate highways, or at least the one I was on, have become highways from hell or at the very least, international speedways populated mostly by 18-wheelers. I seriously almost got run over once. I had a less serious close call a second time. I feel like I was lucky to get here! But, here I am, at my home on my island and it is so good to be here.

There was a hurricane. Hurricane Irma. It shows and I’ve only seen a small part of the island so far. The islanders and outside help from various states have done an excellent cleanup job. But there was a hurricane and it was a serious one that almost directly hit my island. You can tell. Did I have damage? Yes, but very little compared to some people. I feel lucky.

My island is still the wonderful, magical place it has always been. Hurricane Irma, I have one thing to say to you. You failed. Big Fail. At least on this island. Other places were harder hit.

After eating some soft-shelled crab for dinner at one of my favorite bars on the island, I came home and took a three-hour nap. Hanna, my puppy, joined me. Unpacking could wait, I decided. The picture at the first of the post? That sign stands at the front of my favorite bar and I love it!

Speaking of Hanna, she had serious motion sickness when we left home. She’s only seven months old. By the time we arrived, Hanna was a big girl with no motion sickness at all. Trial by fire.

National Novel Writing Month 2017 (NaNoWriMo17) started while I was on the road. Have I managed to write? Yes! The goal of the competition is 50,000 words during the month of November. My goal is not that lofty because my WIP is going to be about 30,000 – 35,000 words – a novella. That means I must write 1,167 words/day to finish my first draft this month. So far – DONE! I will keep you posted.

I can’t wait until tomorrow. Isn’t that a good feeling to have? Groceries – healthy food – is the first priority and I hear there is an awesome new produce market on the island. I will work on unpacking. I will enjoy the bright blue sky and sunshine here. I would like to get up early enough to photograph the sunrise. I’m pretty tired from the trip. If I manage to get up, I’ll share the photo with you. Until the next installment….

 

Journaling #1

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This is not my usual story, but just my thoughts this morning. It’s a nice morning in Kentucky. It’s 55F degrees at 8 a.m. It’s supposed to warm up to 70F degrees today which is going to be a wonderful change from two weeks of bitter cold. The cardinal, in the picture above, is a bird of spring in Kentucky. We love our cardinals!

I woke up thinking about writing as I do most mornings. I’m wondering about you – my blogging friends. Do you sell your writing? Do you want to? I did for years. If you write non-fiction, polish up some of your pieces, research the markets where you would like to place them, and query those markets. If you’re rejected, just keep on trying. You’ll break through. Some publications don’t even require a query letter. Don’t just automatically think you can’t do it. You can. It is hard work. Some of the Writer’s Digest publications can help you. No, I don’t work for them. Aim high! Don’t be ordinary.

Fiction is tougher to sell, but there are markets out there. Find them, query them, same process. Try short stories or flash fiction. Flash fiction, in my opinion, is an amazing tool to help you learn to write only what is necessary.

Can you make a living writing? Absolutely. I did for years at one time. I’m not trying to right now as I am semi-retired, but I may try it again. I don’t much like retirement. 🙂 I’m focusing on a book.

Writing a book? So am I. First research how to write a book! The elements that make a book good. It’s not as simple as telling a story.

Another topic. It’s busy around here this weekend. We’re getting ready to go to my favorite place in the sun in Florida where we have a little home. Two months this time.

I’m going to the city today for lunch. Looking forward to that. Writing is a solitary profession. You live inside your own head. Take breaks, get out, see your friends, have new experiences. You can’t write without new experiences. Our home in Florida is in an artist’s colony. I get inspired in many ways there.

Have a great day!

Rosemary