Well folks. I’ve been on vacation with my family at one of the most amazing places I’ve ever visited: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.
There’s an endless variety of places to eat, things to do and places to visit. We were fortunate enough to find a great condo with an impressive view of the Atlantic Ocean.
I took this picture of the sunrise from my bedroom balcony. The view of the ocean is breathtaking.
It’s strange how a kid from a farm in rural Missouri can find the ocean to be so relaxing. It also exerts a strange siren call. I felt drawn to the waves. Not like I’m being called out to drown among them. Not that kind of siren call. More like a comforting and relaxing call. It was so peaceful to sleep with the sliding door open to my room and listen to the waves crashing into the shore while I slept. Possibly some of the best sleep I’ve ever had.
It is a beautiful place that I’m sorely sad to be leaving. Missouri will always have a place in my heart with the hills and forests that I used to run in, but the sea will forever hold sway over me. The vastness of the blue waves as I stared out towards the horizon. I could forget about the “real world” for a time and leave my stresses behind. Maybe one day I’ll have my own little place beside the sea.
My early literary influences flooded my young mind with images of places far and wide. Jack London instilled in me a love of wild places and the wilderness. J.R.R. Tolkien fueled the fantasy and wonder of worlds I’ll only see in my mind. Then there were the others that I would read that would bring other images.
Growing up on a small farm outside of Lebanon, Missouri, you didn’t see much of the ocean. The closest I got was Lake of the Ozarks. As a young boy, that seemed as vast and uncharted as the ocean. After seeing the real thing, I know that Lake of the Ozarks (while still a large lake) is only a lake. A mere drop in the bucket compared to the real ocean.
My first “glimpses” of the ocean was through the eyes of a man who would become my idol, my inspiration as a writer. Ernest Hemingway lived life. Whether you agree or disagree with the man, he experienced things that most of us will only dream of. I identified with “Papa” on several levels. I felt his passion for the sea and for travelling to distant places. I shared his love of a good whiskey. In that smokey flavor, I always think of Hemingway.
He had a passion for life that was all the more tragic after his suicide. What a loss to the literary world. I wonder what stories Papa would have told if he had lived? I wonder what he would have thought of mine? Would he have laughed or shared a glass of whiskey with me? Maybe both.
I used to say that if I ever made it big as a writer, I’d buy a sail boat and name her “Papa’s Boy” in honor of Ernest. I truly hope I can do that, one day. Maybe I’ll home port her out of Myrtle Beach. However, I’m not a sailor. I’d gladly let someone else be the skipper and crew for the boat. I just want to feel the wind on my face, the spray on my skin and write my stories.
Hemingway inspired me on my writing. His legacy challenges my spirit to tell more stories and experience all of life that I can. One day I’ll have my boat. I’ll sit on the forecastle and have a glass of good Scotch whiskey and dedicate her to Papa.
I’ll lift a glass with anyone who wants to toast the spirit of adventure and those who have graced us with their written words. It is their legacy that will carry us into other worlds, other far-away places and other lives.
We all have our favorite authors. Ones that will forever hold a special place in our hearts. I hope that my writing will find a place like that in your hearts. When our stories are remembered, then that’s the closest to immortality that us mere humans can hope to achieve. Remember the stories and how they made you feel. Forget the face behind them. There is more of the author’s life hidden in those words than any biography could possibly tell you.
Writing is a journey that we take together. Writers can only tell great stories if they are passionate about what they are writing. That passion will always show through. That will be the thing we remember. When the writing made you emote. Made you feel what the writer was feeling. When you make that connection, you learn more about the writer than you know.
I have loved my time by the sea. I’ve made memories that will stick with me the rest of my days. I’ve relaxed, renewed my spirit and recharged my internal batteries. I’m ready to take on the world again.
I have so many story ideas and so many tales yet to tell. I’m ready to tell them. I hope you’ll be with me on this journey.