Check out this excerpt from a novel I’m working on:
It’s odd, I can see forever, yet my world is small. Every day I sit here, circumscribed by my blanket, my table, my coffee, my laptop. How is it that no table is big enough? I move things around so what I need is easily reachable, but it’s never right. I constantly rearrange.
The view is spectacular. To my left and right, and directly in front of the veranda, are the tops of date palms. They’re close, my friends. When there’s a breeze the branches chatter lightly and I listen. They provide comfort while I write.
Over the tops of the palms, the valley stretches to the sea, thick with foliage and birds and monkeys. It’s noisy out there, not my world at all. The monkeys, in particular. They scream like exasperated toddlers, usually over a piece of fruit or a seat in the crotch of some branches. It’s crass and rude. The birds are loud, too, and they never stop. Their territorial cries disturb the peace from dawn to dusk. Sometimes they even wake me during the night, or maybe they populate my dreams.
The sea is lovely, but so distant. How can I know if it’s real? I like looking at it, but there’s no warmth. A lush cerulean sheet, patterned with foam-fronted waves. Sun dances on the surface, and occasionally a surfer or two appear, like ridiculous upright ants riding the waves. The sea only becomes my friend at night. The shishing of waves breaking on the sand makes a faraway backdrop for sleep.
I could go there of course, to the sea. It’s only a short drive. In the past I did, in fact. I swam and lay on the beach, read books under an umbrella, even scuba dived out on the reef with friends. But when one is there, one doesn’t have the perfection of the veranda. At the beach it’s all about doing things or having them happen. One has to constantly interact. You don’t have a world, you’re just there and you interact, like functioning appropriately at an endless cocktail party. So very public.
The sky is big, directly over the veranda and far out to sea. You’d think it would make my world big, but it doesn’t. It’s really just a cover for the veranda. The fact that some extension of it covers the foliage or the beach, that’s nothing to me. I just know the sky over the veranda with its dramatic shifts of light. It’s like one’s living room is constantly being repainted. You have no control over the color scheme, but what you get is pleasant enough.
This morning the colors are bright. There was some fog when I awoke, but it was gone by the time I settled on the veranda. The breeze up here is cool, though usually I can push my blanket aside before lunchtime. The thick brown taste of the coffee begins to stir my thoughts and I open the laptop with a sigh.
Perhaps this morning I’ll write something worth reading. Goodness knows, there are enough memories. So much has happened that there won’t be time to capture it all, not even the important things. I have to sort through what matters, and that’s hard, so it’s good to have the world close-by. I know the veranda and my spot at the table and the receptive comfort of my chair. I know these things and they’re enough. The world is just the right size to hold me and my thoughts.