I want to thank you, readers, for the past four weeks.
It was a very busy year. I wrote a book, went on two book tours, attended at least one writers conference, had a child graduate from college, took a lovely family vacation, and spent a memorable day in the emergency room thinking I was going to die and scaring the bejesus out of McIrish. I think I was on an airplane more than 50 times in 8 months.
The Princess moved into her first apartment and started graduate school three hours away. Dearest Son had an internship for which he wore a suit and tie, and I realized that my little boy is a man.
This full schedule, and all these emotional upheavals, translated to the fact that I was having a hard time writing my latest book. And so, McIrish and I decided it would be good for me to get away. In the past, I’ve done this for a week or two, usually to someplace warm. This year, because I am a lover of skyscapes and the ocean, I rented a house at the edge of the Atlantic and discovered the wonders of winter on Cape Cod.
I took sweet Luther, my better-behaved dog who wouldn’t charge into the ocean the way Willow does, and food that was easy to prepare and consume. Huggy Pillow. Lots of comfy clothes and my giant pink parka.
What happened then was one of the most profound and beautiful experiences of my life. The sound of the waves, the incredible clarity of the night sky, the comfort of Nauset Light’s beam swinging through the darkness. The howls of coyotes, the little fox that followed Luther and me on the beach, and reappeared in our yard the day we were leaving. The smell of salt air, the roar of a storm, even, remarkably, the feeling of a porpoise under my hands as a stranger and I tried to help her get back into the ocean. The exhilarating cold, the giddiness of being blown backward by the wind, unable to stand still in its force.
There’s a holy feeling to being the only person on a beach, making the first footprints (and pawprints) of the day. Seeing sheets of snow gust past the house, to hear different voices of the wind coming from all directions all at once, and always, the ocean, like the earth’s heartbeat.
I know I sound romantic and poetic and maybe a little goofy. I felt that way, too.
There was the delight of visitors—my husband, my daughter, my sister. The long chats I had with my son. My dearest friend from college—our first solo sleepover in twenty-eight years, laughing so hard Catherine fell off the couch. A night with my cousins, another with my auntie. My wonderful, brilliant writer friends, Huntley Fitzpatrick and Stacia Bjarnason, the laughs, the stories, the ideas.
I wrote most of my book this month—a book I’ve been struggling with for six months or more. I finally got to that place we writers live for, when the pages flow and the ideas leap from our fingertips. I cleared my head by walking my dog, through the woods, on the beach, going to the bay to watch the sunset, waking up every day to the sunrise flooding my house.
All that was because of you, because you read my books and have given me this beautiful, fulfilling, remarkable career. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my very full heart.