Beach Reading

I spent this morning on Siesta Key beach, reading Anthony Bourdain’s last book, Medium Raw. I’ve read it before and enjoyed it, and it felt like a good choice for “beach read,” since I feel certain my boyfriend Tony would approve of my mantra for this Florida trip: Eat seafood whenever possible. Preferably within five minutes of it crawling out of the sea.

So far that has worked out to include 2 soft-shell crabs, half a dozen grilled oysters, a dozen and a half oysters on the half and a nicely grilled piece of grouper over jalapeno-hollandaise. Oh, but I am not done yet. Not even close.

Besides Bourdain, I also read through my own manuscript this morning. All 180 pages of it, which I have been weirdly anxious about doing. I suppose maybe it’s not so weird: the worry that I’d finish it and feel like it was Just Not Working and then proceed straight back into panic. I forced myself to read without a pen in hand–very hard to do–and just tried to immerse myself the way a reader might. Of course, I made a zillion mental notes about stuff that absolutely does not work and other stuff that need tweaking to various degrees, but overall the process wasn’t as odious as I had feared. I learned some valuable things.

For instance, I might not have the essays in the best order. It could very well be that I need to switch the first and last chapters. Paul thinks so and I trust his eye. So maybe tomorrow will see me sitting on the floor with chapters spread around me–the same way I order my poetry manuscripts–moving them around to see if some other order reveals itself.

Here in Sarasota, without the demands of parenthood (Thank you, thank you Mom!) mornings are for writerly revelation.

But afternoons and evenings? Oh, the seafood, the sunsets and the smooching!


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