Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Well-written with Juicy Bits

With May's arrival, there are no problems except where to be happiest.

For right now, I'm plenty happy at the beach doing very little. Before I left, Beau asked if I'd be doing any work this week and when I told him absolutely not, he'd been impressed. "Wow, not at all?" The extent of working this week is occasionally responding to an email with a quick "I'm on vacation" or "Send that info to my editor." Vacation with a capital "V."

Instead of working, I am reading morning, noon and night, totally indulging my need to read and making everything else secondary to that. It's delicious.

Today's read is "Happiest Man Alive: A Biography of Henry Miller" by Mary Dearborn, chosen from Chop Suey Books for the cover blurb: "Serious, scholarly, well-written and studded with juicy tidbits about Miller's eccentricities ~ L.A. Times.

Scholarly and studded? If that doesn't scream "read me!" I don't know what does.

My introduction to Henry Miller came courtesy of my 11th grade English teacher Mr. Crabill (completely uncool because he wore white socks with black shoes) who, on the first day of class, wrote the names of all the authors we could choose from to read for his class. Next to Henry Miller's name was an asterisk, so naturally I had to ask what that meant. "You have to have a note from your parents if you want to read Miller," he explained curtly.

Naturally, I went home and secured such a note from my Mom, who'd always said we could read what we wanted, as long as we were reading. Little did I know that his books had been banned in this country until a dozen years earlier.

I'm not sure what age would be best for a young woman to pick up Miller's "Tropic of Cancer," but I do know it was fascinating reading for a 16-year old who was curious about, well, almost everything and definitely mesmerized by how casually depicted the many sex scenes were. Twenty years ago, I circled back and read more Miller - "Letters to Anais Nin," "Crazy Cock" - so when I spotted the biography, it struck me as just the kind of person I wanted to immerse myself in while beach reading.

Reading this fascinating biography only reinforces my loss at not stopping at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur when I had the chance. Regrets, I have a few....
Then there's eating, of course.

Unlike yesterday, my beach crew and I gathered our forces enough today to make it to the Salt Box, one of my favorite restaurants here and, happily, open even during the off season. I could say I was disappointed that the screened porch doesn't open for another 10 days, but a lovely salad crowned by a massive, breadless crabcake, French Rose and mocha mousse made up for it.

My daily constitutional, now that's a different story. I'm still getting used to walking on a beach unlike the beach it has been since I began coming down here as a child. This past winter finally saw Kitty Hawk having beach replenishment done and the result is a finer grained sand with fewer shells, notable in that it's far more challenging to walk on. 

Don't get me wrong, this narrow strip of beach desperately needed more width, but it walks differently, a fact I would know. 

Still, I'm not saying it's a problem. It's the first of May and I've been told that I'm owed an April, which is about to be repaid at the beach, the happiest of places to collect.

Or, as Miller put it, "One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things." I'm looking intently and liking everything I see. 

May, you already got a hold on me...

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