Fish Out of Water

So this is how I felt on Labor Day, when our city pool closed.

I love to swim. I love to be in the water. Maybe this is because I grew up near Long Island Sound, and the merest whiff of salt water is my madeleine.

But I also love lakes and rivers and yes, my city pool, AKA Shang-ri-la. The stink of chlorine brings (happy) tears to my eyes.  It’s the magic of bouyancy. Going from land to water creature. It’s the quiet under there, and the absolute inability to do anything but paddle and float.  No talking. No listening. No reading or writing. Some people label this sensory deprivation; I call it being alone with my thoughts. I can’t tell you how many lines for stories rise to the surface of my mind while I’m underwater.  A few times this summer I’ve had to scramble out of my lane and grab a dry kickboard to use as a lap desk, so I wouldn’t forget.  (Sometimes on the way home, I have to get off my bike and use its seat as a desk. At my age, there’s no trusting I’ll still remember by the time I get home.)

But now the pool is closed. At some point I’ll probably walk by and peer in, clutch the chain link and gape like the poor kid dreaming of living in a mansion.  June is a long, long way off.

Meanwhile, that book I worked on all summer is on my editor’s desk. It’s  made its own journey from idea to story, from amorphous to solid. Or sort of solid. Shimmer and float, little book!