Sunday, September 21, 2014

More Foolishness.

I've been a writing fool this weekend. Earlier today, I put "The End" on the first draft of Seasons of the Fool. This draft is just shy of 52,000 words -- about 14,000 of which I wrote in two marathon sessions yesterday and today. So I'm pretty tired of sitting in this chair right now. But I knew I needed to update y'all about my progress, and give you a little taste of where I'll be taking you guys when the book comes out.

People who get all excited about beach vacations tend to look at me funny when I say I can take or leave them. The reason I'm so blase about the beach is that I grew up there.

I took the photo above last summer, about five blocks from the house where I grew up. The body of water in question is not the ocean -- it's Lake Michigan. And the area in question is called, collectively, Michiana. It straddles the Michigan-Indiana state line, starting at the southern tip of the lake and extending about 35 miles east to South Bend.

The word Michiana is also part of the names of the two villages (and at least one unincorporated area) located right on the lake. I grew up in Michiana Shores, Indiana; the other village is Michiana, Michigan. Michiana Drive is the dividing line between the two villages, and it's also the state line. You can stand in the middle of Michiana Drive and have one foot in Michigan and the other one in Indiana -- which my kids and I have done on multiple occasions.

Here is a picture of my daughter Kitty demonstrating the technique. Note a few things:

1) She is in no danger of being run over. It's a quiet little neighborhood, particularly after the summer people have gone home. (More on that in a sec.)

2) We are in the woods, and wildlife abounds. See the deer on the far left of the picture? We were on our way down to the beach when Kitty stopped for her photo op. On the way back, we saw the guy who lives in this cottage feeding a deer by hand. Might have even been the same deer.

3) The villages were first developed in the 1930s as summer homes for people from Chicago. The original cottages, and many of those built later, used the same faux log cabin siding as the house in this picture. You can see more examples of the style at (The blogger is a tad confused when she says Michiana Shores is in Michigan.) To be clear, the house I grew up in was never a faux log cabin; when my father built the place, he used dark brown asbestos siding, and we've since gone to beige vinyl siding.

My point -- and I do have one -- is that I've set Seasons of the Fool in this little neighborhood where I grew up. I've been deliberately vague about which side of the state line Julia's faux log-cabin cottage is located on; clearly, it's confusing, as evidenced by the mistake the nice lady made at the link above; and it doesn't make any difference to my story. But I've included the important things: the beach, the trees, the cottages, and the view of Chicago on a clear day.

I also left out the time zone madness. Michiana Shores is on Central time, the same as Chicago; Michiana, Michigan, is on Eastern time, the same as South Bend. And in the old days, South Bend didn't change to Daylight time in the summer, whereas Michigan did. (This tripped me up the first time I had a cell phone at my mother's house; I'd set an alarm, but my phone switched from an Indiana tower to a Michigan tower at the wrong moment, so my alarm never went off.)

And I've just realized that I left out the wildlife. Ack. What was I thinking? I should add a deer.

This moment of beachy blogginess has been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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