Monday, June 29, 2009

Extreme Summer!

Kayaking for Dummies

This weekend, I went off on a little excursion in my brand new Calypso kayak. We're no extreme kayakers, just quiet water types...gawking, communing with nature, and lots of chatter too. My husband's boat is a fisherman's kayak...with huge pontoons to keep him afloat. He tells people they're his "training wheels." He has a pretty serious neuro-illness...spino-cerebellar ataxia, which has left him with very little balance in standing, and walking is pretty much out of the question. But out on the's pretty darn hard to keep up with him!

We were cruising along having a good old time, when the wind picked up, the sky darkened and huge, storm clouds came rolling in. We raced back to shore. Obviously, Tom can't make a running we always have to plan ahead and know that there's no time to waste. We hoisted him out, ran for the wheelchair, and basically ran the drill.
Once we were pretty well set, we spied an eager, young guy standing along the shore getting ready to put in. His kayak was a definite rental with marker identification written all over it. He had a bike helmet on his head and in his hand was his single paddle. I didn't get the bike helmet, honestly. But, he was ready to go. I wanted to mind my own business, I really did. But the sky was pitch black and the mother in me worried.

"Are you gonna put in by yourself with the storm coming?" I asked. He bristled. How dare I question him.

"Of course I am," he said. "I'll just pull up along the shoreline and find a spot if it gets bad." Well, that would be fine anywhere else, but not in the Great Swamp. There is no shoreline...just tall weeds growing out of water...thus the swamp.

"There's not really a shoreline for parking," we said. We thought we were pretty funny.

"Well...I'm from NYC," he said, all puffed up. "I know everything about parking!"

Other kayakers were joining us, pulling into shore and disembarking in a hurry. We all chuckled a little bit, while he wobbled away from shore. Rotsa ruck, buddy. This ain't no bathtub, and I'm not seeing a rubber duckie either...but I'm sure it's there under the helmet. You'll be using your expertise parking in the weeds with those nasty junebugs, at least a few skeetoes...oh, and snapping turtles too!

It was, after all, just another day at the pond, where story abounds...and where the rock and roll is the real deal. (Maybe the helmet was to ward off the sparks!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Got Talent?

Much has been written, blogged, twittered and Facebooked about Susan Boyle. You'd have to be an alien not to have heard of her.
Susan, a forty-seven year old church lady, decided to finally do something for herself. All her life, she'd wanted to be known as a singer. No doubt, she met with a fair amount of skepticism. But she brought her best game that first night on Britain's Got Talent. And you know what? The rest of us are all just a little better because she did. In fact, if you google talent, guess whose face you'll see?

Today Jane Friedman, of the Writer's Digest variety...There Are No Rules poses the age-old question: Does talent eventually get discovered? 

One writer is very candid in her frustration related to the many mountains we must climb in order to become published. Let's face it, there probably is a glut out there. Even if a project truly is print worthy, it has to find its way into the right hands. Luck? Timing? Well, of course.
But add in just a dash of hard work, commitment, a skin made of leather...lots of chocolate and a great sense of humor, oh...and flexibility too--that's all you need. You might as well pack a suitcase, because you're in it for the long haul. What Susan Boyle found on that stage that night was not fame or fortune...of course that will come. But when she lit up the world with that smile, it was all about the validation--YES, you can...and she did. And so...Susan Boyle, in her own small way, made believers of us all.