My soul is drawn to the ocean, much like my stomach is to Thrasher’s French Fries. Just when I think I’ve had enough, I find myself needing more. A couple weekends ago, I felt a strong pull to the coastal town of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware after a particularly stressful week. My spiritual battery needed recharging.
One hour after making the decision to drive the forty minutes it takes from Smyrna to Rehoboth, my husband and I were travelling down Route One anticipating every memorized landmark. The first wetland we pass in Frederica, spying egrets or cranes on the hunt for fishy meals, the Meding’s Seafood restaurant with its eye-catching Propeller from the Aircraft Carrier Shangri-La on its front lawn, and each beach sign whizzing by along the highway: Bowers, Slaughter, Broadkill, etc. Precious sights that notify us that we are nearing Rehoboth. Minutes later, the car was parked on Rehoboth Avenue outside the miniature version of Ocean City’s Quiet Storm. Time to plug in.
As I was standing on the sand in front of Mother Ocean herself, she kissed my toes ‘hello.’ It was as if I was learning how to breathe all over again. I inhaled salt air and exhaled salty tears. With every new breath I felt my inner being stabilizing. I started to take photos and videos for my social media friends which was a sure sign that I was feeling better, the happier I am, the more I want to share my happy moments with the world.
Feeling better already at the beach
I snapped more photos of Rehoboth Beach than I have ever taken before. It was as if the Bandstand was suddenly grander in my eyes and I realized that I was looking at Rehoboth through a new lens. I left the sand for a little while and took a photographic journey down Rehoboth Avenue taking photos of Dolle’s Popcorn, Thrasher’s French Fries, Nicola’s Pizza Restaurant, and random landmarks such as a gazebo in front of the Bandstand, forests of baby sea grass planted along the edge of the beach, and several white benches facing the chevron patterns of the famous boardwalk. Taking these photos and noting these details reminded me of why I enjoyed writing. So I could bring my vision to others, be it fiction or nonfiction.
For those who don’t know me personally, I took a hiatus from sharing my writing with the world for a few years. I was previously a published author and writer focusing on children’s literature when my life changed. I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and Fibromyalgia, went through a divorce, married my best friend Jason, built a home with him in Smyrna, and began a life together with our fur-children. A new path has taken its toll on my concept of being published. In my former writing life, I had won awards and grants for my children’s literature. Although I will always love writing for children, the lens on my writing has changed.
When a photographer needs to see the world more clearly for her photos she slips another lens into his view. Each lens serves a purpose – wide-angle for landscapes, strong lenses for distance, portrait lenses, prime, zoom, you name it there’s a lens for it. Nowadays, you can press a button on most cell phone cameras so you can see more clearly. The lenses on my writing took longer for me to adjust. I didn’t even realize they needed adjusting to be quite honest. Every time I sat down to write a young adult story it kept turning into something more along the lines of what adults or entire families would read. Had I lost my muse? Did I no longer believe in science-fiction/fantasy? (Don’t worry, that is not the case as I am a die-hard Star Wars fan amongst many other series and books). Why had my writing changed? I don’t know. Well, maybe I do and I just don’t want to share it yet. But the point is, I no longer wanted to exclusively write Young Adult Fiction. I wanted to write for every one of every age.
Returning to more than the ocean
What people may not know is that I did in fact keep writing. How could I ever stop? For me to completely stop writing would be to pretend I am someone else, and I am none too keen on self-fiction. There are far more moments than I could list that add to the imagery and inspiration for my stories. Every spontaneous car ride to the Farmers Market in Middletown, Delaware for my husband’s pretzel cheese dogs, trek back to my hometown of South Philly to visit my mother, sister and family, each time an in-law taught me what being in a sarcastic family was like (and developing in me a much better sense of humor), and every trip to the beach with family and friends that I love… well, it was all written down. Just not on paper. I memorized every detail and it’s been written on my heart. All I needed to do was remember it all. Stepping on the sands of Rehoboth Beach revived me to 100 percent so I could go back and do it all over again.