From a Cottage on St. Simon’s Island

I managed to scratch out a whole ten pages last week while I was home. Only ten. And THE FIXER-UPPER is due in September. So I ran away again, this time to my friend Chrys and Keith’s cottage on the Georgia coast. I can’t go to our own beach house yet, because it smells bad, and I wouldn’t get in that shower without a court order, not to mention that it has no furniture, and anyway, if I went there, I would be obsessed with trying to scrape up all that broken linoleum, and no writing would get done, whatsoever. But I did stop at Tybee on the way down here, to re-stock my booth at Seaside Sisters. Katie and I managed a little junking on Friday, and although the pickings were pretty slim, I did find an amazing antique glass battery case at an estate sale run by the wonderful Del and Ann and Myrtice. I’ve been going to their sales for probably 15 years or so. They are totally unflappable, and know tons about antiques. And they keep bugging me to put them in a book someday. And I’ll probably do it too–because I am a junk whore and would do almost anything to get a better deal at an estate sale. I snagged the battery case, but missed out on some gorgeous huge seashells. I felt better about things once I got home and looked up my find on Ebay–where somebody was peddling the EXACT same battery case for $85–not to mention $12 for shipping. I filled mine with some bleached out whelk shells and put a pricetag of $60 on it, and felt very virtuous about things. And if some lucky person doesn’t want to pay the sixty bucks, tough noogies. I’ll put it on the coffee table in my own house, and feel quite smug about the way these things work out. So after I priced and arranged, and dropped some stuff off at the house, I drove on down here to St. Simon’s. When I got to the grocery store I realized that I’d made a serious tactical error. I hadn’t bothered to buy groceries at home, and now it was Sunday–and that meant NO CHEAP CHARDONNAY. I felt like a skidrow bum staring helplessly at all those wine bottles at the Winn-Dixie, knowing they could not be purchased. So I went on to the cottage and fixed my ritualistic plate of spaghetti, which I slurped down with a bottle of cold water. Again, I felt virtuous. But not inspired enough to write. I did settle down and crank out ten pages earlier today. It’s blissfully quiet on this part of the island. The only interruption came when the septic tank guys arrived to destroy Keith and Chrys’s septic tank. They unloaded their bobcat, and snaked this giant hose around to the back yard, and I guess they started sucking out the sewage. Sweet Mary, Joseph and all the Saints! Pee-Yew. I thought being a novelist on deadline sucked, but no, being a novelist on deadline is a blessing. The suckiest job on the planet has got to be the job of the guys who have to suck out septic tanks. Thankfully, they decided they could not get their big bobcat in thru the small fence opening, so after they stank the place up pretty bad, they got back in their big red truck and drove off. That’s when I saw the sign on the side of their truck: “Number 1 at #2.” If you have to have a sucky job, I guess it’s good to have a sense of humor about these things. In the meantime, I have more spaghetti for dinner tonight–along with a chilled bottle of Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay from the Harris-Teeter–which was on sale for $4.50. Life don’t get much better. Tomorrow, if I get my page quota done by lunch, I get to go junking.