The walk of life is a winding path. Sometimes you lose your way. Saturday was one of those days.
We drove to John Lloyd State Park in Hollywood. No not the Hollywood where everyone’s a star and an author’s book can become a blockbuster movie. We were in Hollywood, Florida where hundreds of containers were stacked at the port.
Across the parking lot was a lovely beach where we took a long walk. We pass men fishing from a pier, people setting up for a wedding, and a Middle Eastern family, the older women dressed in head scarves, long black skirts and shawls, enjoying the beach as they smoked from a hookah set on a pile of rocks.
We set up a picnic further down the beach and watched five cruise ships depart one tropical shore for another.
Planes leaving the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport crisscrossed overhead; Southwest to our right, American Airlines to the left, a small seaplane below them. A flock of pelicans in V- formation approached the beach from the north.
Other than that we now had the beach to ourselves.
Yesterday I thought I would self-publish my upcoming novel. Today I am confused. I read a discouraging article in the NY Times that painted a not very pretty picture of publishing. A dog eat dog eat world where Amazon is the top dog. What’s a writer to do?
This writer wanted to hop a boat but not a large cruise ship. I know it wouldn’t appeal to me. The planned activities, the crowds, the casinos. Dinner at eight.
Sitting on the beach at Trunk Bay on St. John several years ago, my family and I watched as dozens of cruise ship travelers packed up their Royal Caribbean towels to leave the beach at two in the afternoon. When they were gone, we had the beach to ourselves. An hour later we walked over to the tiki huts where locals hung out listening to The Jam Band. We ordered Cabana drinks and smoothies for the girls and ate spicy meat patties before taking the jitney back to Cruz Bay where we had more food and drinks at a little harborside restaurant. We followed our own time table. It’s the only way I know how to travel.
It’s also the only way I know how to travel through life. In Hollywood, I tried to come up with a plan for navigating the new year. How do I publish my book? How do I sell my book? My mind wandered as it always does. I imagined myself on the sailboat that cruised by. I wanted to catch the trade winds, get out of town, sail back to St. John with just a few bathing suits, sundresses, sandals, and a laptop. Writing for the joy of writing.
I thought about a Lyle Lovett song.
The mystery masked man was smart
He got himself a Tonto
‘Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free
But Tonto was smarter
And one day said, kemo sabe
Kiss my ass I bought a boat
I’m going out to sea.
~ Lyle Lovett, If I Had a Boat
I write these blogs for free, they are a labor of love but I also write them to entice and amuse. And to sell books.
What is happening in publishing today happened to the music industry a few years back when songs became available on free downloads. Musicians hit the road. The summer highways are full of traveling tour buses. But what do writers do for money when books are sold for $1.99 or given away for free? Would anyone attend a lollapalooza of writers reading from their books?