I had a lot of reasons to be in Miami this past October. While my trip to Vermont had almost no relation to writing (unless I write a story about driving through Vermont), my trip to Miami was full of writing related activities.
The main reason I went to Miami when I did was to do the Sunday Salon in the library at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest. Not only does my mother work at the Temple, but one of my close friends and mentors is a part-time librarian there. When Etta asked me to come speak for one session, I jumped at the chance. It worked out perfectly that I would get to see the three remaining friends I have in town, celebrate my father’s birthday, visit Book & Books (the bookstore Emma and Christi discuss in Miami), and do a little research for another book.
The first big thing I did was the book research. This is the research I needed to do for Woodhouse Yarn and Cafe, this year’s NaNoWriMo novel. I spent a little over an hour at the yarn shop and walked away with yarn (of course) and lots of notes. I can’t share them here because, well, spoilers! I got a lot of insight into what small yarn shops are dealing with and how I can use that to make the story better. I enjoyed sitting with the shop regulars and knitting. Yes, I did buy yarn, but I knew I would (even if I said I wasn’t going to). I feel like Woodhouse Yarn and Cafe will be a better book because of this research.
I got to enjoy a late season tropical depression (which felt like a Hurricane to Massachusetts when it got up here later in the week). I drove an hour to see Emily and the kids through the storm. I think the years of driving through snow storms have made me a better storm driver. It was like driving in the snow, except there was no snow… so a better driving experience. Spending a few hours with them was worth the drive. I hope I get to see them again next year. I’m getting spoiled seeing them twice this year. The kids are getting spoiled by me seeing them twice this year. I suspect the next time I see them it will be with their hands out for presents… which I will happily provide.
I got to do the Melting Pot for fondue with another very old friend. Sally and I have been friends since middle school when we were on a swim team together. She provided some inspiration for Penny in Modern Persuasion, but I suspect that won’t be the end of her inspiration on my characters. She and I often fall out of touch for months at a time, but I always try to make a point of seeing her when I’m in town. Even if we can’t see each other, we do talk a few times. She got me through the first couple of years after I came home from FSU in my depression. I could always count on her to want to go out to dinner and a movie every week. You don’t ever let that person go, even when they feel like they require a lot of work to be friends with.
My third remaining friend in town is Grace, who I always feel like is coming in and out of my life. I saw her daughter Gabby when I was in New York and it led me to get back in touch with Grace. We only had time for a quick lunch before I left town, but Grace too was there for me as I came out of the depression and moved forward. These three women might be the few I have left in South Florida, but they are three of the most important women in my life. Two of them have been my friend for most of my life. They aren’t just friends of convenience, the people who grow up around you and you have just kept around because they are there. They are three women who have helped shaped me and supported me through good times and bad.
The event at the synagogue was fantastic. Someday I will film one of these events. The room was packed thanks to my powerhouse publicity team (my parents and Etta). I sold all the books I brought- including the extra ones I brought incase I needed them. I spoke about, like I have at other events, my experience with mistakes, failure, and regret. I talked about how all of it led me to write the book. I answered questions and signed books. I met a lot of great people and reconnected my mother to someone she knew from the past (which is always a fun development).
Enjoy a few of the pictures I took (including Ms. G’s hurricane drawing).
Miami, FL – October 2017