To the people on the beach below me (except for that one man in speedos—you can keep moving, friend)

(April 8, 2019)

I’m up high, drinking a half bottle of Douro in the Algarve. There’s a floor-to-ceiling window at my elbow and the sun is behind me, heating up my back. It’s evening, and I’ve been waiting for the sun to disappear for two hours now. It should be dusk, but it isn’t somehow. It feels as though time has stopped. 

The seagulls are out, playing their games. It must be a sign of old age, that I’ve grown so fond of these modern dinosaurs. I must have given up on life in some way because I”m this close to abandoning what’s left of my youth and becoming an ornithologist. Just one more terrible date or bout of earnest mansplaining will push me over the edge and into some elastic-waist pants as I search through the sporting goods store, looking for the best deal on a pair of binoculars. 

I digress.

The reason I’m in the Algarve is Shakespeare! I grow weary of life, friends, and when this happens, I take an acting class. My favourite, by far, is Shakespeare vocal training. And you thought being an aspiring ornithologist was nerdy enough. But no. I am THAT nerd, the one who has to take it to Bard levels. It makes me so happy, truly it does. When you’re doing Shakespeare, you can’t do anything else. Not if you’re doing it correctly. You can’t write. Can’t procrastinate, or wonder what the point of life is. You can’t be weary of it because, as my coach likes to say, verse is hopeful. 

For the past five years I have written every single day. Good day, bad day, travel or no travel. The only exception is for these Shakespeare classes, when I settle for some light editing at night. 

Since I have two books out next year, I do have an untold amount of editing to do. Normally this would make me a basket-case, but right now I’m not going to worry too much about it.