|The 'stateroom' in our tipi|
The rest of the time I walked around the island, which you can do in 25 minutes without breaking sweat; I lay under the trees and watched the sunlight shine through the leaves; or I lay in the long grass and listened to the insects.
Occasionally we looked down on the rocks to watch the parent gulls feeding their young – a ritual that involves said young tapping Mum’s beak and pouncing on the regurgitated fish (or, by way of a change, a chick she’s stolen from an absent-minded mallard). Sometimes we’d spot seals coming in on the tide. Other times a line of puffy clouds would grab my attention. Or a wheeling gull. Or I might doze.
In four days I read not a word. I made not a single mark in my notebook. And I was never bored.
Now we’re back and I’m hard at it: the schedule from now till the autumn will be 1,000 words a day on Chasing Black Gold, the story of the black-marketeer, treasure-seeker, diver, smuggler, shipper, jailbird… you name it.
The struggle to get The Red House On The Niobrara ready for printing goes on. I may have cracked it; but I fear I may have fouled things up. More on that in my next post. But as a post-script to this brief sketch of our holiday isle, let me announce that I arrived home to find an email conforming that I have indeed been granted a residency with the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Three months, January to April next year, in
Time then to have a go at converting the juiciest parts of a dozen western
travel journals into a book of short stories. Taos, New Mexico