The river walk was delightful and I loved walking along the bluff above the lake, watching the waves and the brave souls who wind-surfed or swam. I wasn’t quite bold enough to go into the icy water this trip. As a kid, I learned to swim in Lake Michigan and although I remember the water being cold, I don’t remember letting that stop me from forging into the surf. Age, on the other hand, occasionally stops me from doing stuff I did as a kid. We enjoyed visiting the Maritime Museum, a boat ride up the Black River, and trying new dishes at several nice restaurants in South Haven.
This trip was different because instead of staying in hotels, we rented a cottage, and I have to say, I liked that. Having our own kitchen, spreading our laptops and notes out on the dining room table, being able to get up in the morning, make a pot of coffee, and sit in our pjs to talk and write was incredibly freeing. So much so that I freed myself from the confines of Willow Bay and started a brand new story.
We got to bounce ideas off one another and as Liz pointed out, although we both read aloud in the privacy of our offices at home, sharing what we’d written with each other was great. At one point or another, each of us was heard to say things like, “I need a word for . . .” and “Does this sound awkward?” or “Listen, what do you think?” Brainstorming story lines or character arcs, figuring out exactly how much is too much backstory and whether or not a plot line is believable while you’re actually writing just works for me.
There aren’t very many people I could do this kind of trip with—writing and relaxing and talking—man oh man, did we talk. Not just about writing, but about everything and that was another true blessing of traveling with Liz. She listens, offers wisdom, doesn’t judge, and even if we don’t come from the same place, we usually always end up in the same place on any given subject. Each time we travel, we discover something new that we have in common and we never ever run out of topics to discuss. I’m looking forward to next year—maybe doing something different and taking two shorter trips—one in spring and one in fall—because even though we had a wonderful time, both of us missed the spouses terribly.
The trip was a gift, but more important, the friendship is a gift—one that I never expected to get so late in my life. Thanks for a terrific time, Liz! Looking forward to next year!