I have written many stories, but Hawaii is near and dear to my heart. Completed in 2007, my ebook, Searching for Hawaii A Cape Cod Story, was my first completed novel. I spent my summers on Cape Cod when I was young, and I wanted my first novel to take place where the setting was strongest in my mind. While I may not possess all of the wisdom and eccentricities of my main character, we share many similarities.
The story takes place in 1976 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where the main character, fifteen-year-old Gail Wilson finds friendship, love, and tragedy during the course of one summer. The over arching metaphor, finding exotic Hawaii on Cape Cod transcends into the main character who wants more out of life. (The literal searching for Hawaii is Gail’s brother’s hobby of looking for each U.S. license plate.) Finding frustration at many turns including her over-the-top patriotic parents, her perfect sister, and her friends who burden her with too many worries, Gail turns to long time infatuation Graham Meade to find compassion and understanding. Finding answers as complicated as the questions, Gail begins to change by the end of the story by seeing her place in the world.
Below is an excerpt from the novel. I hope you find a connection when reading Hawaii.
Chapter 9 OC Gail
I have been an organized, obsessive compulsive person my entire life. I know I need to let go a little and relax. For instance, at home in my room there is a final resting place for everything. Many items like my tennis racquet, my hairbrush, and my photo album hang on my wall with a marker outline around them. Sort of like a crime scene for my everyday objects. When a newcomer enters my room, it never fails that they look at me for signs of a mental breakdown. I can see them thinking, “Should I remain here, with this weirdo?”
My friend Susan thinks I am destined to become the next Columbo or Mannix, a detective drawing lines around dead bodies. “Gail,” she said once, “they even let detectives make lists!”
I make lists in my notebook of what I need to accomplish each day. I make a weekly list on Sunday, then break it down each night before I go to bed for the next day. If I don’t do this, I will not sleep well at all. I am so obsessed with this list that if I do something that is not on it, I actually go back, write in the new task, and then cross it off! How neurotic can I get? I wonder if I am heading for the 12-step program for the unendingly organized.
Mom and Dad say that these are quality traits for leading a successful life. What they are really thinking is, “Where the hell did she come from?” My dad’s workshop looks like a scene from Earthquake and he is Charlton Heston trying to rescue his one useful tool, his crowbar, from the grips of disorder and decay. Mom, whose idea of organizing is to decipher which pile of crap this or that item belongs to by categories only a mystic could unravel, is constantly misplacing things…go figure.
Maybe I am a product of a contrary life. I probably have ancestors who were in the military or butlers or plumbers! I am a work in progress and being on the Cape definitely helps. Here, I only make the daily list and the Sunday list is history. Also, having to share a room certainly makes me think twice before organizing everything in the Columbo fashion.
Diane would never put up with my obsessive nonsense in our room, but I am discovering my brother is more like me than I thought. It feels great to have something in common with someone in this family. Putting some laundry away in Mark’s room, I am surprised at his organizational skills when it comes to his license plate project. He is lying on his bed reading a comic. “Hey squirt, how’s the license plate business?”
Popping up like a jack-in-the-box, Mark lands right in front of his wall map. “Look Gail, 23 already!”
“When did you get New Mexico?”
Tapping his foot and folding his arms across his chest he spouts, “Too easy, day three.”
“Day three? Are you keeping track of which plates you get on which days?”
“Yup.” Mark pulls out a calendar and on several squares I notice the names of states. Cool.
Messing up his hair, I pronounce, “Good job buddy, keep up the good work.” At that, my little brother prances back to his comic.
If you want to read more, or purchase the ebook, go to the “Publishing Projects” or “Hawaii” tab on my website (top of this page!) for the link. And, as always, thank you for visiting.
Picture Credit: Thumpertown Beach, Eastham, MA by David Scott