Happy Memorial Day weekend to all!
This weekend is one of travel for many folks; however, I'm right here at home. Why? Because in a couple of weeks I will have the pleasure of taking a cruise--a pleasure cruise!--so I'm staying put for now, but it's no bother. As I sit and enjoy the pleasant weather, this weekend brings back memories of excursions past and anticipation of travels to come. It's a very exciting time!
In my youth, travel consisted of family vacations and field trips at school, the logistics of which were mostly out of my control. In time, my sojourns came to include the many unusual escapades concocted by my mother—a travel junkie—one of which involved sleeping in rest stops across Canada, taking dogs on paddle boats, and devising a back-up plan to sneak my grandfather’s body across the border and back into the US should his heart give out at Niagara Falls. Luckily, the Falls seemed to revitalize him and we didn’t have to worry about it, but experiences like these tend to influence an impressionable young mind. In other words, I crave adventure and lots of it.
Now I travel all over North America and parts thereabouts on a regular basis, going places my mother would have loved to visit but never got the chance. She loved water, and so do I, so it was only natural to say yes when my hubby asked if I would consider going on a cruise with him. Actually, I threw myself into his arms and screamed, and he took it for the affirmative. He's very intuitive, that one.
Anyway, I was hooked from our first trip. Living on a floating city for a matter of days, surrounded by sea life of all kinds, music, good food, sun, and romance, is addictive. The only problem with it is when I tell people I'm into cruising, and they raise their eyebrows until I amend my comment by saying, "No, the OTHER kind of cruising." Might I also add that in port, when you board a cruise ship, they usually have nice hunky Coast Guard officer types holding impressive weapons and sporting well-built physiques that any Alpha hero would envy. They are there for protection and tend to be very serious and unsmiling, at least until you smile at them. Not that I have...much. Ahem.
Most importantly for me is that there's nothing like the ocean breezes and whitecaps to soothe the writer's soul. There's a subtle power to the sea, as if it's only letting us sail on it because it chooses to. I understand I'm in someone else's territory, territory that will truly never belong to any country, any corporation, or any one person. No, the ocean belongs to no one; it doesn't need anyone or anything to exist. It's just there, reminding me of those entities in mythology
Even if I'm just visiting the beach with my sister, I still feel that same awesome power as the waves erode the shore and create gorgeous evidence of its dominance over the land. This is one of the reasons some of my stories take place on cruise ships or islands or beaches. My favorite cruise ship tale is Disappear because it's campy, and because Prince of Betrayal, my latest from Ravenous Romance that is also set on a cruise ship, isn't out yet. Phantasm 2035 is set at the edge of world in New Long Beach to contrast the natural beauty of the beaches with urban decay. It seems like I can't get away from the ocean, even in my writing, and the truth is, I really don't want to!
I've given my husband strict instructions should anything happen to me. He won't have to smuggle my ashes across the Canadian border--although I do love Niagara Falls--just aboard a nice big cruise ship. When no one's looking, he's to toss a little bit of me out of the railing, or at least rub a little of me on one of the Coast Guard guards. I'm sure they get requests like that from widowers all the time; if not, well, they should.
If you get the chance to take a cruise, I highly recommend it. Inspiration abounds at sea, and if you're a people-watcher like I am, you'll get the chance to observe some really interesting behavior you can incorporate into your characters, as well as get to enjoy one of the most amazing natural beauties on the face of the earth.
Have a great Sunday!