Alethea: I honestly believe that Carlene and I were destined to meet. Even on the day we officially met–around that table at the WRW luncheon that we relabeled “Misfits”–we realized we’d already met once before. “You might not remember this,” Carlene said, “but I saw you at a Sherrilyn Kenyon signing. You helped me take a photo.” “I am SO glad you said that,” I told her. “Because you look so familiar, it’s been bugging me.”
Carlene: Yes! Destiny it is. That was the weekend I joined WRW just so that I could meet Sherrilyn at that retreat. What I came away with was the blessing that is Uh-lee-thee-uh!
Alethea: Carlene and I were instant friends. Our shared love of music led us to a few concerts together, and mutual fangirl squeeing over bands.
Carlene: I still owe you a Kings of Leon concert!
Alethea: Carlene and her son even came over to my apartment and helped me pack during my escape from Washington DC to Titusville, Florida. Carlene moved this past summer as well…only she went all the way to San Diego, California.
Carlene: That was a fun packing day and you were a wonderful hostess. That sauce you gave me …Tiki Marsala or something … yum! I also believe there was a delicious smoothie involved. And lots of books. Lots. Of. Books.
Alethea: I’m glad I had those years with Carlene, (Me too) however brief. Thanks to the magic of the interwebs, we get to stay in touch almost as much as we used to! Even better, Carlene and I get to bring some coast-to-coast culture here to the Mermaid lagoon.
Today–as a special Mermaid treat for December–Carlene and I are taking you on a sunny, seaside tour of our favorite new writing spots, from sunrise to sunset.
“Writing at the beach” often conjures the mental image of a woman in a bikini relaxing on the sand with a laptop. A romantic notion, but NO NO NO. Sand is HORRIBLE for electronics. And have you ever tried to see the screen on your phone in bright sunlight? Exactly. The same goes for your laptop. As for the bikini…well…we’ll just leave that part to your imagination.
Carlene: Yeah, ditto everything Alethea just said. I originally set out to disprove her “you can’t write on a laptop at the beach” theory but alas, she’s one smart cookie.
Without further ado, Alethea and Carlene now bring you the Bi-Coastal Mermaid Writing Tour!
Alethea: As the Mermaid of the East, I’ll start with sunrise. And not just any sunrise…this particular sunrise was the morning of the infamous Orion test launch. This is the part about living on the Space Coast that fills my geeky little princess heart with glee. (That square block you see on the far left is the NASA Space Shuttle Assembly Building.) Carlene: This was so cool! Orion landed about 630 miles from San Diego and word is that it’s being trucked back to Cape Canaveral just in time for Christmas! Talk about a cross country road trip! #SpaceshipRoadtrip. Also, it’s like we all just woke up together, on the same side of the country!
That photo was taken from the middle of the Max A. Brewer bridge, an award-winning walking bridge, and one of the best places to watch launches from either Canaveral or Patrick AFB. My first writing spot is near there, at the pavilion in Sand Point Park.
The pavilion is huge and NO ONE IS EVER THERE…except maybe a bunch of hungry squirrels and a great blue heron we’ve dubbed Hobo Heron. There’s a great view of the water here–the Indian River, part of the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s full of dolphins and manatees and some great birdlife. The pavilion also has a tin roof! Such a calming sound when it rains…like it does here in Florida, every day in the summer. Every. Single. Day.
If it’s raining and also HOT (as it also tends to be in the summer…every single day…), I like to park my tail at the Sunrise Bread Company. (The only Starbucks in this town is in the Target, and plastic cafeteria chairs are not for me.) Sunrise Bread Company has fresh bread, great ambiance, and one of the best frozen coffee drinks I’ve ever tasted: the dark chocolate Granita. Just writing about makes me crave one. It’s also the only one of my spots with free wi-fi.
My third writing spot is possibly also my favorite. There’s a marina down US-1 that boasts a “Manatee Viewing Deck and Visitor’s Center”…which is essentially a fancy front door you walk through, then immediately exit through another door to get to the marina. There is a bridge overlooking a little protected channel by a runoff drain, which is where all the manatees LOVE to hang out. Beside this mini-lagoon is a small covered area with a table and chairs. Sunshine, water, boats, fresh air, and MANATEES. What’s not to love?
I also plan to make friends with someone who owns a boat here so they can teach me how to sail. Because I am a SCHEMING SIREN.
Carlene (Mermaid of the West): I don’t know about scheming, but you are definitely one of the most creative and resourceful people I’ve ever met! Um folks, I owe Alethea Mermaid a gigantic cyber hug because she really had the tougher job of the two of us with this post. Me: “Hey Alethea, wanna write a really awesome post together?” Her: “Sure!” (Alethea is up for most things which is why she rarely sleeps in her own bed!–Which came out sounding all wrong just now! She travels a lot! Saying yes to things that keep her away from home, in case your mind went somewhere else. Ayayayay!) Me: “You live in Florida now. I live in California. Let’s post sunrise and sunset pictures!” Her: “That means I have to get up super early. Yes! Hooray!” See, she’s a really great sport and I am truly the lucky one in this lagoon.
As we drift from charming Titusville, pass over many great states, then TEXAS …
and then a few more states, we finally land in beautiful San Diego, California. This is where I live now. This is where I write. (This is also where I consume too much delicious Mexican food but whatevs. A mermaid’s got to eat!)
My first “story-making spot” is the San Diego Zoo. It’s a “no worries” type of place I can go, free to think up whatever the heart desires. There are lots of view-friendly and surprisingly comfortable benches, hot beverage kiosks, cute military couples to watch and my favorite–year-round Siberian reindeer. I don’t know what it is, but their presence makes the place magical, especially this time of year when I start missing the wintery weather of DC. Spiral notebook and pen approved, although you could probably get away with a laptop here since there is plenty of shade and daily perfect weather.
The Fabulous Mr. Flores is a high school football coach which means if I want to see him from July to December, I spend an abnormal amount of time hanging out at the bleachers. I secretly love this. The Friday night lights are complimentary and great to write under. Just toss your laptop in your back pack, bring some spare change for concession stand hot cocoa, and make like a kid again! This is a pic I took in October from San Diego High School’s football stadium with a gorgeous view of downtown.
The very first story I ever wrote is set in Julian, CA which is San Diego County’s sleepy little mountain town. I’ve gone to Julian every year since I was about five and know it inside and out. There are any number of hideaways to cop a squat and write, like Buffalo Bill’s cafe. For those of us who need music and aroma for writing inspiration, how about a potpourri shop where you can browse, sniff AND be serenaded by local cowboy singer, Graham Nancarrow?
Well, by that setting sun below, it looks like I better wrap up. When I’m working on a story, I’m not always physically writing. Sometimes, we need a place to just “think” about things. It’s at those times when the ocean calls. Up to the writer what to bring whether it’s a blanket, towel, folding chair or just your two feet and buns. Err, fins. 😉 I took this picture at La Jolla Cove last month on a “book thinking” mission.
Thanks for taking this intergalactic writing adventure with Alethea and me! What? There was a spaceship involved! ORION!
Alethea Mermaid and Carlene Mermaid