The Lake House

I just came home from a five day writing vacation on the southeast shore of Kelley’s Island. I shared the rental cottage with two dear friends, one a poet, the other a prose writer. I’ve done this kind of thing before–most recently in VT on a bigger scale–and always there are surprises.

This time:

It’s a water snake, the kraken of Lake Erie! I’d heard rumors of them but this was my first encounter. They loved our rocky quiet shore–my friend Mary even began to name them (Ava, Letty). I was witness as one devoured a fish whole. Needless to say, this was zero at the bone stuff, and put a big crimp in my desire to go swimming.

Other suprises:

—One night I outlined the plot of my new novel and described a dilemma I’m in. This is Unheard Of Stuff For Me. I never talk about work in progress, partly because it relentlessly evolves and partly because I have a deep fear of jinxing myself.  But Mary and Susan were so helpful and pointed out some things lying right before my unseeing eyes. It made me wonder how much of my working methods are left over from when I  began writing, when we lived in a very rural area, and the internet was still a gleam on the horizon, so sharing my work was more or less impossible.  There’s a chance I’ll be less guarded in the future.  

—Angry Birds is not just a game. One evening  as I sat outside eating  my black walnut ice cream, a handsome bird politely eyed me. I shared the tail of my sugar cone with him, but as he flew away with it, a bigger bird pecked him and stole the cone. The humiliated little bugger turned around and  pecked me on the head! There is a story here, but it’s probably not for children.

–St. Brendan the Navigator once set anchor on a large pebbly island, only to discover, when he began to build a fire, that it was the back of a fish. Now that is a good story (thank you, Susan!).

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