Friday, July 13, 2012

A day at the beach

I'm not sure why I'm having a hard time getting back up to blogging speed. I feel like if I start generally writing about the past several months I won't be able to stop. There is so much to say, though I'm not sure if it really needs to be said. Or maybe it can be trimmed down to: work is hard. Working while raising a kid is even harder. Also: at the ripe old age of _0, I still have not gotten over my yen for summer vacation. I mean: all-summer-long vacation a la childhood. Life should just be that way, right? June rolls around and we lay down our pencils and go outside for three months? Yes, please. 

I've been sunk in this kind of manic busy-ness for what seems like ever now, all of my own doing: it takes me too long to write a book. I hate being that person who is "too busy" to do anything ever. This was my fifth book, but it's the first time that being a writer has truly felt like a full-time job. I'm used to having time to loll and be all lenient with myself. Need a nap? Take one, Laini. Don't tell the boss, hyuck hyuck. But for the past six months or so, deadlines have been the boss, and they would most definitely have noticed naps. Now here it is, summer vacation, and I kinda feel done with work for a while. Well, too bad for me :-) 

At Disneyland, I was up at night in the hotel going over copyedits. Now back home, I have just finished going over First Pass Pages, which is basically the last look at the book (type-set now) before it goes to the printer. This is my least favorite stage, though it seems like it should be exciting, because it is the LAST READ, and I DO NOT WANT TO READ THIS BOOK ANYMORE OH GOD PLEASE. 

I have not read any of my own books post-publication. By the time they're printed, I've read them what feels like thousands of times, and I'm done. Maybe that's normal, and authors never read their own books, I don't know. This last pass is always hard to get through for me because I just have to go on faith and the conviction I had while writing it, and the assurances of others, that it is not boring. Because once you've read something eight thousand times ... well. 

So it's time to start a new one! Also a short story that I'm doing with Jim. That golden lovely time of beginnings. But first: some summer! Last Saturday, the morning was looking lovely, so we decided to hie out to the Oregon Coast for the day, to our favorite beach:

You may or may not know that Oregon beaches are gorgeous and plentiful (363 miles, and every foot of it is public land) and dramatic and majestic ... and windy. And cold. Even when it's not cold it feels cold because of the wind. Trees grow slanted backward, under constant bombardment. Kite sailors and windsurfers abound. Brrr. Which is why we love Nehalem Bay State Park. It's a bay beach, sheltered from the wind, with sun-warmed shallows and piles of weird driftwood, gorgeous scenery, kayaks, and no crowds. Also, it's on one side of a narrow spit, so the ocean beach is only a few minute's walk over a hump of dunes. 

We arrived at the turning of the tide, and all that shore began pretty immediately to vanish, until we had to drag our blanket back into a driftwood nook. 

Walking back to the parking lot later, we kept running out of shore and having to wade in the ever-encroaching tide. Another family had a canoe, which immediately made me want a canoe too. I WANT A CANOE! I would also like a little house tucked between Manzanita (our favorite coastal town) and this beach, pretty please :-) 


You can see below, the beach is mostly underwater now. So pretty. Oh, there also a teeny little airstrip back behind the trees, and every once in a while a teeny little airplane would buzz in or out, seeming to be swallowed up or ejected by the forest. Oh, and there's a horse-outfitter and you can go for beach rides. We haven't done that yet, but I'd like to sometime. I always enjoy giving a horse a good laugh at my utter lack of riding skills. 

Below, a more typical wind-blown Oregon beach, probably the most visited of all, being a straight shot out from Portland: Cannon Beach. We stopped there for lunch amid the hordes of weekenders, before continuing on to our little bay paradise.

Looking forward to a longer trip perhaps, soon. The coast is only an hour and a half from Portland, and the drive is very beautiful. On longer trips, we like to explore and discover new spots. They're everywhere. Every few miles, a little turn off the highway reveals a small river park or a nook of a beach or a hike up a mountain. Amazing amazing place.

By the way, speaking of Oregon, I just read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, about hiking the PCT solo. Have you read it? It seems like the world is reading it now. She's local, but I've never met her. Back when I was a travel book editor, I had a notion I'd like to hike the PCT. Having read the book, I realize I had no notion whatsoever what that would entail, but I'd still like to go on a backpacking trip again some day. Haven't done that since right after college, and probably won't for a while. 

What are you guys doing this summer?

I hope all is well! I've missed being here!


Sandy said...

I am so surprised by the beaches when I think of Oregon beaches are not what enter my mind but they are so lovely. Besides working this summer I will be heading to Canada for the first time and spending a week there. That's actually happening next month and my family has yet to finalize anything. I need to get down and cracking on it this weekend to figure where we are going and what we will be doing.

Aubrey said...

I just finishing revising my manuscript to get it ready for querying agents (it's my first book ever!), and I already feel like I can't read it one more time. I can't imagine how many times you must have read Days of Blood and Starlight. Just know that your readers are excited to read it and not at all sick of Karou!

Desiree said...

I live in Ashland, OR and one of my favorite places to go is Harris Beach campsite in Brookings. It is so fun for kids (I have been going there since I was an infant and now my kids absolutely LOVE it!) and there are a bunch of beautiful trails to the beach from the campsite. If you ever get a chance you should definitely check it out. If oyu like Oregon Beaches then you can't miss this one!

June G said...

I've certainly missed you! As an aspiring YA author, I do appreciate these kinds of posts that tell it like it really is to be published. Thanks, so much. You're also my inspiration for wanting to visit Oregon and Prague. Ha!

The pics of the natural surroundings are so refreshing. Thanks, Laini. My friends and I are anxiously awaiting Days of Blood and Starlight. We were talking about Daughter the other day and I realize I need to read it again to refresh my memory on all things Karou!

Irene said...

It doesn't take you too long to write a book, it's just how you write (and time has a way of flying when it's supposed to linger a while longer). You're not a robot :-)

Brynn said...

My first book of the summer was "Wild" and it inspired me to want to get into the woods again too! As I'm a school librarian in the Adirondacks in NY state, it's pretty easy for me to do, however, so that's my summer! Hiking, kayaking, planning for the school year.

Loved the travel contest associated with "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" in the previous post, thanks for sharing!

Andrea Eames said...

I never read my books either! By the time they're published I have read them so many times that even just looking at them makes me cringe.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Oh, man, Laini, I know how you feel. The transition from writer-without-child to writer-with-child is a difficult one indeed. I'm still trying to figure it out.

Farrah Mason said...

It's been a while since I went on a vacation and I'm wondering myself why is that. So when a friend asked me to go with them at broadbeach resort, I didn't hesitate. I suddenly had visions of blue sky, clear water and fine sand. And boy, it was an amazing experience! We had so much fun and I was completely stress-free that weekend.

Elinor Groom said...

This year, instead of going on a beach for a vacation, I decided I want to try a different trip. I'm contemplating whether to go on a Safari or try ice climbing in Switzerland.

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