yes, I’m still here

 

 

This blog has been my writing practice, my sounding board, my megaphone, my diary, my love for over 2 years. It has also been my crutch and a convenient exercise that has kept me from writing fiction. Memoir, essay, and humor come easily to me, but fiction? The hardest writing I can imagine, and what I want to write most. Dream big, right?

I have not talked much about the writing community of Key West and I have not at all talked about the fact that the writing community of Key West is indeed one of the reasons I came here. I’m not talking about the Hemingway or Tennessee Williams legacies that live here, I’m not here to channel dead authors. I’m here because the writing community of this city offers a multitude of learning experiences in the form of classes and seminars, public readings and lectures. I’m here because there are dozens of successful, living authors in Key West to mentor, advise and assist the budding writer. There are small presses, writing contests, book sellers who promote local work—and there is inspiration everywhere. In a city where diversity and freedom reign, it is almost impossible to not find something or someone that unleashes the creative spirit. And after 8 months of adjusting to my Florida life, my writing mojo has returned, and I’ve embarked on a large and challenging fiction project, one that is enthusiastically supported by locals, and I’m thrilled—now I have to deliver the goods.

I have posts in the works, I have political and social concerns that I will address, poetry that I want to share, but I have finally found myself with the discipline and desire to do more. For me, it’s all about the discipline, doing the work, committing to something. Discipline got me here, and discipline combined with inspiration and marginal talent is what will push the creative cart. So…less blog, more fiction is my aim. Better things to come, including a short story out this fall, and hopefully, a book of short stories in 2018. I will keep you “posted.”

 

photo credit: New Urge Editions

 

unknown

 

 

Some mornings I wake up

And don’t know where I am.

Crosswise and upside down

On sheets of paper and purpose

Crumpled and rumpled and

Not afraid but cautiously curious

And alone.

 

And some mornings I swim

Through waves of not knowing

or understanding and paddle, paddle

on until I reach the shore

Weighty and wet and

Buoyed by intent

Yet exhausted.

 

Carry on, carry on

Swim like hell, little fishies.

Your classmates are callous, life is confusion

and purpose uncharted

Until we make our own sense. – pn

 

photo credit: Caine Delacy for Daily Mail

 

more bike

 

 

I love my bike, a cheap Amazon purchase, a woman’s Huffy, with lots of gears that I never use as Key West is perfectly flat, and an awesome deep blue and turquoise paint job, one of the nicest paint jobs I’ve seen on the island. I’ve outfitted it with a white, market basket and side view mirror, that’s it. I could actually use a better seat but I’m too cheap right now to pop for the $40. upgrade–plus my ass is fairly conditioned to the hard plastic that doubles as cushion.

And I love biking. My biking is the biking of a teenager; I cannot text and drink and drive hands-free as these acrobatic children do, but I can ride in traffic and alongside it, and without being foolhardy, I can make a left turn without looking like a fool. It is my only transportation, my wheels, and it is wind-in-my-hair-freedom and a fuck-you-establishment attitude. And now that high season is over, and the snow-birds are back in Ohio or Michigan or wherever they came from, licking the last of their Key-West-biking-wounds, I own the road.

Did you know that a night ride on your bike, under the stars and moon, atop an island, propelled by palms, guided by imagination and a small flashing bulb is a marvelous combination of exhilaration and sensuousness? I’m 16 or 26 or 66. Air out your brain; take your convertible for a spin under the stars.

 

photo credit: pinterest

 

DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO if you care about the plight of the iguana

reptiles were killed in the making of this film

 

 

I could not make this up if I tried—I’m not that good a storyteller. My neighbor (who was also the seller of my home), the awesome Jimmy Joe (not his real name), was given the green light by the State of Florida to do whatever was necessary to rid his home and property of the ever-invasive iguana. Stalwart citizen, community advocate, and house proud Jimmy Joe went to Mo’s Barber Shop and bought his first rifle—a pellet gun, the weapon of choice for hunting iguana in the Keys.

Jimmy Joe (JJ), a business man, husband, grandfather and respected local, lives on a beautiful lane that runs into the cemetery—the cemetery, a living, breathing, reptile house, with no walls to contain the rodents. As lovers of water, it was a mere short walk down the lane to JJ’s pool, where the critters could shit and swim and have a gay, ole, iguana time. But Jimmy stepped up to the poolside firing line and began taking aim at his uninvited guests—and the thrill of the hunt took hold of him. He began taking walks with his rifle to the cemetery fence, holding it between the wrought irons rails and wiping out a few buggers every day—there were reportedly thousands of iguanas within the property. In an act of consciousness, he went to the cemetery’s caretaker and they discussed the iguana problem, Jimmy once again given the green light to do whatever was necessary to rid the community (and State) of the overpopulation. Why, the caretaker told him that even he had bagged forty some iguana last week, a huge problem within the cemetery as families stopped coming to their loved ones gravesites, not at all comfortable with tending to the once vibrant plastic bouquets, never mind saying prayers under the beady waatch of prehistoric creatures. The city had no money to tackle the problem; but JJ had balls, a little booze in him, a friend or two, a brand new rifle, and a great, civic responsibility.

The following video is of Jimmy Joe and friend, out for an afternoon hunt. Apparently, there were several of these safaris, including an encounter with the Key West police where the hunters were once again given, you guessed it, another green light to do what needed to be done. Please watch the entire piece, it is hysterical, truly, “only in key west” as the locals would say. Jimmy Joe is the gentleman with the yellow bandana—as if you couldn’t figure that one out all on your own.

 

DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO IF YOU CARE ABOUT THE PLIGHT OF THE IGUANA.

 

 

An interesting post script: In a review of Carl Hiaasen’s latest book, Bad Monkey, USA Today said, “…If Florida didn’t exist, it would take a novelist with a wicked sense of humor to invent it.” A very fun read, set in the keys.

 

art: jake fuller