Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on January 9, 2012 at 7:45 PM
Hello from sunny, hot, wonderful Hollywood Beach, Florida. Today was the first full day at our resort on the second week of vacation. Before this, we spent a week in Orlando and enjoyed lots of pool time as well as two days at Sea World. This week has already begun to shape up as my dream vacation. The air is warm, the ocean cool but not freezing, there is warm, soft sand to dig my toes into and so far I’ve counted at least six coconut palms heavy with nuts. As far as romantic sounding vacations go, this is definitely a contender. Outside my resort room window I can see the sun rise out of a perfect azure sea into a pale blue sky that would make Michelangelo weep for joy. The colours range anywhere from pale pink to orange to vivid lavender as the sun sets on the other side of the resort but the sky is still spectacular in the evenings. Today I spent a lot of time in the warm pool followed by a long walk onthe beach. After lunch I walked onto the sand bar and let the waves pull me farther and farther out into the aquamarine sea where I spotted something remarkable. It seemed to be floating away from me and at first I thought it was just some flotsam being tossed about by the endless wind and waves. As the current gently pulled me further out I came abreast of the object and slowly it dawned on me that this was a sea creature. I drew nearer in curiosity and soon recognized it as the top of a jellyfish, but not any jellyfish I have ever seen washed up on the beach or in exhibits at the zoo. It had a half bubble where there is usually a whole one and it was blue and pink at the same time. At first I assumed it must no longer be living because it was floating at an odd angle. Then, as it came closer and Iwatched, eager to see this new kind of jellyfish up close I realized it was very much alive and dodged out of the way as a wave brought it nearly too close. Now, I know better than to get near a jellyfish’s tentacles so I did my best to stay away from the back, but still at one point an invisible tendril wrapped briefly around my thumb. I quickly shook it off and while there is still a slight red mark my thumb appears to be no worse for the experience. I’m sure I got very, very lucky. Before the sting though, I was able to watch for quite a while as the jellyfish which I would later discover to be a Man O’ War continued to bob in the waves,coming closer and closer. I watched the tentacles carefully and at first thought they must be drifting downward as well as behind because I saw some movement in among the tentacles. Getting as close as I dared, I saw that it was in fact a whole school of fish, one at least two inches in length and one inch in width that was the exact blue of the jellyfish tentacles, surrounded by similar smaller fish. I watched the jellyfish for a long time, trying to determine if it had caught an entire school as dinner but the more I watched, the more I became convinced that whatever was going on with the jellyfish and the fish was in fact quite symbiotic. Whenever a small fish would trail, it would quickly catch up with the group, staying close. At last a huge wave caught the jellyfish, tossing it high on the sand where it would either die or be rescued by some well meaning Good Samaritan and as it was washed ashore the school of fish swam away. I was later to learn that some fish actually eat whatever they can from between the Man O’ War’s tentacles as it drifts seemingly lazily on top of the waves. Leftovers from its last unsuspecting meal no doubt. Watching the jellyfish for as long as I did and enduring a quick but painful sting from the creature gave me both a fascination and healthy respect for these remarkable animals. Being on vacation in the warm tropics of Florida has given me some time to simply breathe, relax and take stock of my life and my writing. When I was in Florida two years ago I wrote an entire three chapters based on the location I was in. I won’t tell you which scene now since it’s from another book in the saga and I don’t want to give away too many details, but I will tell you that it was some of the most fun I’ve had in writing. Sometimes it’s good as a writer to take a vacation from the everyday, even if every day isn’t a 9-5 job. My life as a writer and mom can be very busy at times and it’s easy to lose sight of my dream to not only be a published author but to continue to write stories I enjoy and that I hope my readers will enjoy too. Vacation helps me focus, re-center myself and even gives me new plot and location ideas. In the process of getting First Taste of Love ready for publication (taking over two years so far) I have wanted to give up a few times. It’s fun to write the story, but not always fun to edit it and come up with a decent cover and do all the little details like marketing and preparation for sales that goes into getting a good book on the market. Sometimes I just need to get away someplace warm where my biggest responsibility is deciding if I want to swim in the pool, soak in the hot tub or float in the delicious ocean waves. This is the my first full day of vacation here and so far I feel much more relaxed than I have in a long time. Last week was a good part of my vacation as well, but there is just something about sand, sea and palm trees that effectively calms my soul, soothes my spirit and opens my mind to the possibilities available to me as I write book after book in my quest to have all the stories in my head out there for others to read and hopefully enjoy. This has turned into a rather large blog entry so I will end here and say that I look forward to getting to know all my readers a little bit better as you leave comments, send me messages and read my book in February. Until next time, dream big and never give up. Amy F. Virgin A quick addendum to this entry. Since writing it I have watched a full moon rise along with two harvest moons and am beginning to understand how a seemingly simple thing like the moon can inspire awe and has been a symbol of romance to generations of people. The moon rising on both a restful and restless sea, depending on the night, has taken my breath away more than once. It has been quite enjoyable to experience the tides first hand, walk the beach as the moon rises and sit in the dark with my toes digging into the sand warmed from that day’s sunshine, listening to the waves crash as the light sparkles and dances over an ink black sea.