It’s rainy and gray in South Carolina. A good day for getting back to work on the Great American Novel—the Holey Grail for so many of us wannabes toiling away, assembling picture puzzles from words. I’ve been hacking away at it (machete in one hand, torch in the other, cocktail in the third) for several months now following publication of Blue Rubber Pool.
But recently some new friends have prompted me to rethink my self inflicted solitary confinement especially with regard to public readings. I used to do them long ago at the avant garde Beaux Arts in Pinellas Park, Florida, “oldest coffee house in Florida”. It used to be the Royal Palms Hotel, built in 1911, but the place I knew in the early 80s was a flop house of sorts where people lived, visited and shared. A San Fran-style enclave of artists, writers and musicians. Woody Guthrie, Panama Red, Jim Morrison and Jack Kerouac were among the ridiculously talented people passing through. They were there in the 60s, well before my visits in the 80s. Although the place has since burned down, it still has fans.
Maybe if there was a place like that around here—not just a building, but a tribe with a vibe—I could break out this hermit thing I’m doing.
Regardless, revisiting Beaux Arts today, it feels good to see glimpses of my younger self still inside my older me.
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill