While writing the novel, Life: part-time, I would often go to the actual locations where a scene or chapter takes place to read and revise the manuscript.
The novel’s first chapter opens along the Santa Barbara coastline at Hendry’s Beach. One afternoon last year at Hendry’s, while reviewing some dialogue between two characters in the first chapter, a gust of wind grabbed the manuscript page out of my hand. The page flew into the sky, transformed into a manuscript kite in flight, looping through the air, riding the winds above the beach.
Securing the rest of the chapter pages, I ran down the beach to retrieve the flying page that had crash landed on the sand, anchored on one side by a golden amber brown clump of Giant Kelp. Marine plant life that had drifted in from the Channel Island’s kelp forests offshore were scattered along the beach.
I carefully pulled the ocean soaked page away from the sand, hoping to dry it out in the warm sunshine. Wind alert. Up, up and away, the page took flight again. This time it landed nearby in the surf zone. By now I was more excited with taking photos of the mobile manuscript page merging into the novel’s story environment. All of the creative connections in my writer/artist mind activated. I waited on the beach for the ocean’s contribution to the unpredictable voyage of the printed word. A new set of waves arrived pushing a transparent layer of foamy surf swash up the beach, gliding the torn and tattered page onto a jagged rock.
And that’s where this very short story ends. The novel’s manuscript page takes a quick tour of the chapter’s real world location. In the process it gets torn apart by the wind and the water. I kind of liked that.
Manuscript meets nature. Nature prevails. Author prevails. After all, I could always print another copy of that page.
Having too much fun that day I took another manuscript page and played with blending the written word into the environment. Looking at the patterns in the sand and the lighting on the rock, this last photo feels like a relic from a prehistoric era. Long ago and far away from the summer of 1979 when Life: part-time takes place.