day 11 – wilmington, north carolina

I’m starting to lose track of time. The kind of losing track that happens when you’re on vacation. I needed this, I tell you. The book has occupied about 100% of my time for the last six months, and it’s nice for that to be over. I can stop and smell the roses, metaphorically and literally, because here in Wilmington, North Carolina, there are roses in bloom in December. Actually, they may just look like roses. I think they’re camelias. And you can’t really smell them, so I guess it is all metaphorically. It’s just nice to relax and reflect a little on what got me here. Here being my girlfriend Wendy’s home.

I got here last Wednesday, and I have one more week before I need to leave this lovely place and keep heading south. I’m aiming for Key West on January 8 and have a few folks I want you to meet along the way, so I have to get a move on after New Year’s. Wendy and I are friends from when we both lived in Massachusetts in our previous lives and met through the quilting group we were in. Wendy moved to Wilmington over a year ago, and I am finally here, for a long overdue visit. I’ve brought the beginnings of a new quilt with me down to Wendy’s so she and I (well, mostly she) can figure out how to make the quilt work… It’s going to be a Van T-shirt quilt. I took all the T-shirts down from the walls in my office at home and I’m now going to transform them into a quilt. I think it will be very cool – the kind of thing you’d take with you to the Van retirement home. I’ll keep you visually posted of my progress, as soon as there is progress to report.

When Bridget and I left home on the 17th, “Astral Weeks Live: A Fan’s Notes” still hadn’t been published. The printer had said it would likely ship the week after Christmas, so I arranged to have them divert a portion of the shipment to Wilmington to arrive during my tenure here. Apparently, Wilmington is easier to ship to than New Hampshire is. The shipment going to my home, true to form, arrived yesterday, in the week after Christmas. The Wilmington shipment, on the other hand, arrived the day after I did. So when I’m not quilting, I’m in the book mogul business. The book is self-published, which means that I get to do everything. Writing the book was one thing. That part’s done now, though. Now I am the publisher, VP of Sales & Marketing, VP of Operations, Office Manager, and also the person in charge of making coffee and going to the post office to mail packages.

And when I’m not quilting or book moguling, I’m working my day job: proofreading online. I’ve been proofreading for for about 10 years, and one of the great selling points of the job is I can take it on the road with me whenever and wherever I go. I wonder if they have wireless in the Grand Canyon. Have proofreading will travel.

It’s not all work, though. In my considerable down time, I’ve had the chance to do a bit of exploring around Wilmington; we head downtown most days it seems; this afternoon Wendy and I went down for the shops. The other day we went down to the boardwalk along the river – the Cape Fear River – peeking into shop windows and stopping in for tea at Barista Cafe. There’s a cute little jewelry shop on the boardwalk, from which I came out empty-handed, so I think a return visit down to the waterfront is in order to make amends. This afternoon, we kept to Front Street and I was able to get a capo at Finklestein’s. And I almost found myself the perfect record player at a vintage shop selling all sorts of memorabilia. I brought my vinyl copy of Astral Weeks with me on the road, hoping I’d find a traveling record player somewhere along the way. The vintage shop had the record player, just no needle in it. I don’t think they make needles for this machine anymore, so I had to take a pass on it. My search continues.

Like a lot of cities, the retail commerce in Wilmington has moved to the burbs in a significant way. Huge swaths of land, miles and miles of it in all directions of store after store after store, and pharmacies and coffee shops and gas stations and churches, and parking lots. Suburban retail sprawl. I didn’t know this kind of thing existed; well, I knew it existed, just not on this scale. The best of Wilmington is not its shopping, though; the best is its beaches. Wrightsville Beach is a five-minute drive from here, so we’ve been over there a couple of times. Yesterday was beach day with the camera. If anyone wants to see what a dead jellyfish washed up on shore looks like, let me know. Otherwise, enjoy some non-jellyfish beach pictures.

Wrightsville Beach

the beach

the beach

Wrightsville Beach

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