Outtakes 48


There are times when I reach an impasse when writing my novel.  My brain will not engage and allow me to move from one scene to another. I’m stuck now. I know where the story needs to go, but where do I start? Should I continue with the heroine’s crisis, or is it time to toss the antagonist into the mix? Unfortunately, I have no idea. I may be stuck, but I still need to write something today. Therefore, I will pull out my handy Journal Jar and grab an assignment.

Describe a perfect autumn day. What kind of activities would you do on that day?

A perfect autumn day would be a day one I spend in Bar Harbor, Maine. I’m staying at a bed-and-breakfast developed from an old sea captain’s home. The three-story clapboard house was built during the whaling days. The owners have invested considerable time and effort in renovating and modernizing the structure while maintaining the charm of beauty of the whaling days. Brass lanterns decorate the book shelf in my room. A sea green dust ruffle kisses the pine floors. The matching hand-quilted sea-green patterned quilt covers the bed. White eyelet curtains shade the room from the bright morning sun.

The crisp air greets me as I sit on the balcony enjoying a cup of fresh-ground Columbian coffee and a wild blueberry muffin.  The inn overlooks the rocky Atlantic coastline. Sand beaches are not common in Maine. Instead, the beaches are composed of large boulders weathered smooth by centuries of ocean tides and storms. I finish my coffee and head indoors to dress for a day of exploring.

I climb over the boulders as I approach the Thunder Hole. The rushing tides crash into the rocks and crevice in the cliff wall and are forced back out, creating a thundering noise. The spray wets my face. I glance up and allow the sun to dry the salt spray from my cheeks.  I back away from Thunder Hole, and find a flat surface for my tripod.  Focusing on Thunder Hole, I set the timer on my camera in hopes of catching the perfect shot of the waves against the rocks.  (Yes, I still prefer 35mm photography to digital.) I shoot a roll of film before retracing my steps down the beach toward the sea anemone cave. The tide is too high to explore the cave, so I decide to go for a drive.

I cross the bridge linking the island to the mainland. The orchards are heavy with ripe McIntosh and red Delicious apples. A sign advertises the opportunity to pick your own apples. I pull into the lot and pay my fee.  Climbing the step ladder is a challenge as I try to balance the peck-size basket and not fall. A young man steadies the ladder as I fill my basket. I move from the McIntosh section to the Delicious trees. Once again, I climb up the ladder and search for the best looking fruit.

I stow the baskets in my car and return to the island. I have just enough time to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunset. Poised on a pink granite outcropping, I snap another roll of film as the day darkens to night. When the sun is gone, I return to the town. Stopping at a seaside restaurant, I order lobster bisque and fresh-baked bread for dinner. The evening breeze chills me. I wrap my thick sweatshirt tighter around my body. It’s time to go home. I need my sleep as tomorrow I drive to Camden to board a windjammer for a three-day cruise. Nothing beats autumn in Maine.

This is my day. Why not take a few minutes and describe your perfect autumn day. One more thing; my heroine needs to confront the ghosts from her past. I wonder what she will find in her grandmother’s journal.

Cait Collins