September brought two local end-of-summer camping trips and while my writing work continued albeit at a much slower pace and there was much to wonder, this blog is all about what was outside the windows of the trailer, plus a welcome-home view.
Kayak Point: A new campground for us in a forest on a bluff overlooking the Salish Sea. Just down the road from the campground is a disc golf resort and we had two days of throwing fun. I highly recommend the putting course for all levels of disc golfers. Besides being free, the par-two course has water features which add ambience and an occasional disc bath. Back at camp, we hiked a short steep trail down to the beach, where the salmon were jumping, continuously. I laughed at the joyous sight of the frolicking fish, while a local fisherman lamented that he’d have better luck shoving an empty boat out amid all that jumping than he was having fishing from shore. I attributed the salmon jumping to all their energy surging them toward their spawning grounds, perhaps in the nearby Stillaguamish River. A quick internet search added two additional reasons. According to Tlingit culture, the jumping is to better see their surroundings, a geographical orientation. The jumping may also be to dislodge sea lice. Great, now I know that such a creature as sea lice exists.
Fort Casey: Our annual camping trip to celebrate my father’s birthday. The campground is on Admiralty Bay next to the Port Townsend ferry and a short walk to the fort. Best bets: walking along the beach to spot the huge sea lions out in the water, walking along the bluffs with views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, exploring the bunkers and Admiralty Head Lighthouse, and kite flying. One year the TV show Z Nation was filming at the fort and we were able to watch them shoot several scenes. This year included fishing for salmon, with lots of fishing and a little catching—two salmon for the birthday boy!
Port Townsend Ferry
What are your favorite camping, hiking, and get outside spots? Let me know in the comments below.
Home: In May, I planted twelve or so baskets and pots with two flats of impatiens, white and salmon, an annual tradition, easy and affordable. Over four months later, with almost no attention besides watering, these flowers continue to bring cheery joy to increasingly dark and grey days. New this year—two salvia plants which also bloomed continuously with no deadheading and attracted the hummingbirds like no other flower or feeder. I’m curious to see how much longer all these plants will hold their blooms.
Do you have favorite annuals you plant each year? Preferred perennials you nurture? Drop their names in the comments below.
Welcome to my blog. First time here? Check out May’s blog for info on my intentions for this space.
Work: Last October while reading Judith Kitchen’s The Circus Train, a novella-length essay in fragments about, to name a few, mortality, Samuel Beckett, and memory, I came across this line: “I like the phrase ‘time on your hands’ when you can actively hold it and feel its weight.” In that moment I was transported back thirty years to an experience that altered my perception of time. I grabbed a pen and a notebook, and wrote the first draft of “Twenty Seconds,” an essay out in the current issue of Two Hawks Quarterly.
What does the phrase “time on your hands” make you think about?
Welcome to my blog. First time here? Check out last month’s blog for info on my intentions for this space.
Work: I’ve started on the next draft of my book, my untitled Armenian family memoir. The last draft I refused to begin with page one—I was sick of page one. I was sick of the beginning that might not even be the beginning, in the end. I picked a pivotal section on page 43 and sailed forth from there. Last week I landed on page 191 with new insights for global revisions, my main goal for that draft. I’ve returned to the beginning, and those new insights are helping me see what belongs here and what decidedly does not, and the fate of the rest of the beginning is uncertain at this point. As a person, I prefer the familiar, the known, the certain. As a writer, I’ve found the only way forward, for me, is to make peace with losing sight of the shore and trust that new lands will appear, eventually, on the horizon.
A helpful resource to take along on the drafting journey: Seven Drafts by Allison K Williams.
How do you tackle your drafts? Always from the beginning? Or do you jump around?
One of my motivations to write is connecting with others, and that connection can’t begin until the work goes out into the world. As I am currently writing a book, it’s a long slog before that engagement can begin. So I’ve decided to reboot, revive, and recommit to my blog.
This blog will be loosely organized in three categories: Work, Wonder, and Windows. What I am up to with my writing; wonderings inspired by books, podcasts, articles, essays, anything really; and what I’m seeing out my window on my borrowed piece of the planet between the Salish Sea and the Cascade Mountains.
Work: I’m expanding my MFA creative nonfiction thesis into a book-length work about my relationships with my Armenian grandmother and her two sisters, and the silence surrounding their life in Turkey and how they survived the Armenian Genocide. I’ve published two essays related to this work: “Geraniums” at Complete Sentence and “Tante Silvia’s Flinch Cards” at The Keepthings.
A wash of pink spreads across the lavender sky. The apple orchard grays into view. Soon Shotpouch Creek will surface, rippled in white. But first something new: bits of darkness darting through the air. It’s too early for the robins that will dot the meadow feeling out worms or the kinglets that will flitter in the willows along the creek. The winged darkness flies at the floor-to-ceiling windows and disappears soundlessly. Bats. A dozen visible and then poof—gone. One flies toward me and then melts away. Another scrabbles against the glass for half a second before slipping under the flashing over the sliding glass door. They pour through the dim morning light and secure themselves for sleep.