Tybee Island Dreaming

I’m sitting in my office. The air is cool and the breeze coming in through the window is even cooler. It’s coming up on a time of the year I love, the transition from one season to the other.

Lives are transitioning too. Students are going back to school. I start back to college on August 19, but not until after I return from a six-day vacation on Tybee Island, Georgia. I am broke, but I paid for my share of a big beach house back in June. I’m going to the beach!

There’s nine of us going, including my girlies Heather and Rowan. Please picture, if you will, me and Rowan in these freakin’ adorable double beds, for that’s where we’ll be for the next six days.

We love the sheets.

Rowan says that we will turn the AC up high every night and spend the first 40 minutes of bedtime just laughing. And I think that’s exactly what we will do.

I have a confession to make. I’m not so sure I’m actually excited about this beach trip. I know this sounds insane, like not being excited about a $500 gift certificate to your favorite store. But I’ve spent the summer idling and worrying and trying to make sense of my life and career and wait I just now got excited about the beach.

Enough of the echo chamber of my head! While I would almost eagerly swap the trip for some exciting new writing gigs, a vision quest by the sea with my dear, dear friends is probably just what I need.

I’ve tried to make this blog an honest document of my life, to the point of revealing a few things others might have kept to themselves. I think I do this less out of a confessional streak than a deeper desire to be useful by describing one person’s life as it actually is rather than how I might want people to think it is, providing the service of a publicly examined life.

I love that line from Almost Famous where “Lester Bangs” says something along the lines that the only communication that really matters is what we share when we’re uncool. I could easily deceive you all into thinking I was more successful by playing up my successes and not mentioning my problems.

But that would be a fake account of a real life. I am the one broke and confused. I am the one unsure what to try next. I am the one who can’t decide what work she wants and who isn’t sure where to look for it.

I can’t help but hope/think that some readers, maybe even some prospective clients, recognize an honesty and a willingness to show things as they are, and the usefulness of any document that seeks truth over building a slick facade.

I know that my strength as a writer is that many of my word-portraits of experiences and feelings and moments are to the mind and heart what photos are to the eyes. I know sometimes words grasp the essence of a thing in a way such that the thing recreates itself in the mind and is recognized with a jolt like the crack of a bat, only silent and deep. I too feel that moment when I know my words grabbed part of the world in a net. My net.

This is a real life. This is a real freelancer’s life. It’s not always easy.

I know I need to exercise, be more disciplined, battle the remaining demons left in my life, the ones so huge I hardly notice them anymore, familiar as mountains. Those will be the final battles over which I have a measure of control because I am fighting myself. All the rest of my life’s big battles will be against the universe rather than myself and my weaknesses, sicknesses and worst nature. In many ways my problems are rooted in my refusal to be my own hero, and I am fighting my own ordinariness.

Anyway, look at me go. I started out trying to talk about a summer beach trip and took a sharp left onto the familiar highways of borification. I’m boring myself now. Somebody get this girl out of her head and onto a beach or something! Friends don’t let friends be single and functionally unemployed.

Truly, I am living my life in front of a computer screen lately and trying to make it interesting.

Beach house, I dream of this moment: It’s nighttime and I am walking from the beach to you. I walk a sandy trail blue with evening until I see that best thing, lights on in a house where I am known and welcomed. And I walk inside to those who are waiting for me.

I will be in Tybee Island for six days. See you next week!

4 responses to “Tybee Island Dreaming

  1. Oh my goodness, please get some sand in your suit for me. I hope you enjoy every moment of your well-deserved and hard-earned time at the beach. I’d give a lot for a mild sunburn and some steamed clams right now.

    Is it SAFF yet?

  2. Actually it wasn’t boring at all, brilliant in fact. Your prose is a bit poetic. Easy on the brain, your depth is accesible. I do hope you immerse yourself in the beach experience, and try not to worry about anything. Also, did you know that Mountain Express is hiring? I think that you would be a perfect fit since you love Asheville so much. :)

  3. LOL Jana, you are the third person to tell me! Thank you for thinking of me.

    The first job I wanted as a new writer was to work for the Charlotte alt weekly with one of my favorite writers in the Southeast, Tara Sevatius.

    But I have never done investigative before, and I am not yet sure I want to give up the autonomy and flexibility of freelancing, at least while I am still in school.

    And I am just not sure I want to be a journalist…

    I think I’d like to hold out as an independent awhile longer and see if I get it to work again. Meanwhile, I am meeting with an Mountain X editor next week about freelancing there.

    Can’t wait to see your socks!

  4. KATE it is not yet SAFF quite yet unfortunately (I checked) but I wish you could be here at the beach!

    Not much chance of a sunburn around here in the middle of the TORNADO WATCH, but I would buy you some clams for sure.

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