Monthly Archives: August 2012

Big Boy’s Toys


Finally the departure morning of the long, awaited sailing trip together up Desolation Sound arrived. Two sailboats, two couples, and two weeks ahead cruising the Pacific Northwest coastline bathed in an August heatwave. Sounds ideal, right? Extensive preparation for this trip to “the wilds” was completed.  It all began with the purist sailor, Ryan (always indignant over the power boats and their noisy gadgets in anchorages) purchasing a honking, massive Honda generator.  Yes, a big boy’s toy. The justification, you ask? He could proudly brag he’d be brewing his wife a Starbucks Pike Roast on a newly purchased Keurig. Yes, another big boy’s toy. After all, Desolation Sound might actually be desolate!

Nothing matched the frenzied excitement caused before breakfast on the morning of our departure, as sailor Gabor unpacked the wide range, top of the line, walkie-talkies.  Yes, yet another fun big boy’s toy. OMG! Not only would we be sailing together into these unknown waters; we’d be chatting, at our leisure, throughout the trip while under motor (or sail)… That is, once the sixty-some year old boys finally got their new toys working. Armed with reading glasses, the print of the User Manual was attacked.  Who knew walkie-talkies were so complicated to operate?  Such a big boy’s toy! Unfortunately (or fortunately) our boys mastered operating them before manning their boats for the first leg of our journey.

You know how sailors always pontificate about the quiet, the wind, and “being one with the elements and nature” during a sail? Get real people!  The motor roars and hammers for the entire five hour trip, the marine radio crackles constantly without anyone on board understanding a single word, and the sea is so choppy with whitecaps and swells, there’s no possibility of even going below to prepare a light lunch for the starving crew. But those walkie-talkies work like a “hot-damn”! You’ve got to love the big boy’s toys!

The boys started conversing back and forth before leaving the marina, with very significant messages… or not! This dialogue continued non-stop with sailor Gabor being nicknamed, “quick draw McGraw” before reaching our destination. The first day out, one exuberant sailor wanted to advise the other more arrogant sailor where and how to anchor.  This resulted in the anchor sinking simultaneously with the persistently ringing walkie-talkie!  It seems the silence that ensued the anchoring had something to do with the “gurgle, gurgle, gurgle” heard on the end of Gabor’s walkie-talkie. And then finally, “oh blessed silence“!  Yes, lost boy’s toys.

And who knew?  Pender Harbor actually serves designer coffee!


Maeve Binchy’s Writing Advice


Maeve Binchy, an entertaining Irish author, passed away recently and I wondered how many people around the world were touched by this woman through her books. Whenever I was on holidays and had a chance to pick up a book for an extended time, Maeve Binchy novels were always my first choice.  One could count on the story being set in Ireland, memorable  characters, and it would be an enjoyable, light read.

Before starting my second career as an author of Middle Years novels, I purchased Maeve Binchy’s ‘how to’ book, entitled, The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club.  This book is a collaborative effort (like guest blogging) with contributions from authors, poets, editors and publishers.  It served as a road map for a first time author.

Five key messages from Maeve Binchy and her contributors, include:

  1. be interested in the hero or heroine. This means giving them  a strong and memorable personality.
  2. think of the story as a journey. The characters must progress and be different people for better or worse at the end of the book.
  3. pace the story. Chart or outline your book chapter by chapter so that the story keeps moving forward.
  4. being a novelist requires effort and in Marian Keyes’ words, “Writing really is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.  Writing is work!
  5. refuse to take rejections personally.  Keep learning from feedback.

Maeve Binchy’s writing will be missed around the world.   What advice can one take away from her ambitious career? DO IT  and keep doing it for the fun and satisfaction experienced at the end of a project.  Keep writing everyone!