Just now I'm reading Pat Conroy's Beach Music. It is absolutely perfect for me right now. It's set in the fictional town of Waterford, which is actually Beaufort, SC, just a couple of bridges away from where I live. I actually got to meet Pat Conroy, not long before his death of pancreatic cancer. He was one of the most gentle, generous, compassionate men I have ever met. His eyes were sea green, and he had the gift of focusing entirely on whoever he happened to be speaking with, in a way that made you feel that he was genuinely interested in everything about you, and that he had all the time in the world to spend with you. My husband took this picture, and it just makes me happy, even though I look a bit of a wreck (I had taught all day, then waited an hour in line in wilting South Carolina heat). Sadly, I am in pretty good focus, but Conroy is pretty blurry. But this picture captures a moment where I just felt supremely happy. Conroy and I talked about his book The Water is Wide, which related his experience of teaching on Daufuskie Island, called Yamacraw Island in the book.
So this is my time to rest, let some of the toxins escape, and read, read, read. Also write, write, write. This is the summer when I will establish and stick to a writing schedule. I'm letting go of everything else. Nothing else matters.