For the past four years, my New Year’s resolution has been the same. It has nothing to do with weight, being a better person or cleaning the house more often.
And, for the past four years, my resolution, as is the case with most people, has gone unfulfilled.
I wanted to write a new book.
That should be easy to accomplish. I’m blessed to be able to be a full-time writer. Unlike most people who want to write a book, I don’t have another job that demands my attention every day. I don’t have children or aging parents that need care. I don’t have fatigue or other health problems.
I don’t have an excuse.
But, still, I don’t have a new book.
Technically, I have produced two books in four years. One, “Let Me Tell You Something,” was a compilation of some favorite columns with back stories and follow-ups. The other, one of my favorites, was a book of Mama columns and inside stories never told. The kind that had to wait until she died, to tell. Using one of Mama’s phrases, it is called “Mark My Words: A Memoir of Mama.”
But a brand-new, beginning from scratch book? Nope. That has not happened on the Rondarosa. Mainly, because there IS a Rondarosa and lots of distractions.
About two years ago, Bud St. Pierre of the storied King and Prince Resort on St. Simons Island began inviting me down to spend time and write a book. Bud is a cherished friend of ours. He is also a two-decades long employee of King and Prince who has a dream to see a book written there, that celebrates the island.
I had a dream to write a beach novel for the vast array of women who gobble up love stories set near the ocean. The Golden Isles of Georgia are my beloved islands. Of course, I could write about St. Simons.
A year ago as Christmas neared, I sat down at the kitchen table where Tink and I both work a good deal of the time.
“I’m thinking of going to St. Simons to work on a new novel for two or three weeks.”
Tink didn’t hesitate. “Go. It’s a good idea.”
I loaded the car with provisions — including a favorite down comforter and pillow — and headed down, taking along Dew Drop to keep me company.
Any writer will tell you that we fear that words and stories will just one day, up and leave us. Writer’s block. Probably because of this newspaper column and magazine stories I churn out, I don’t encounter that problem. One never knows, though.
After a day or so of settling in, the novel began to unfold. The characters leapt to life and I had so much fun.
Each day after finishing work, I’d sent what I had written to Tink and he, without fail, cheered me on enthusiastically, gushing over what I’d done. Then, spent out of words, Dew and I would walk a short piece up the beach to visit with our beloved Roy and Anne Hodnett. Roy laughed joyously as he held Dew and I talked. It would be the last days that I spent with that perfect Southern gentleman.
When I left the island, I had half-finished the book. The finish would be easy because I had such a solid start. That’s what I thought.
Then, life unfolded as normal on the Rondarosa. Days turned into months. The book lingered without finish.
“I miss Chatty. I love him!” Tink would say from time to time about a key character. “He’s one of the best characters ever.”
One day when he said it, my heart filled with longing. I missed Chatty, too. His joy and color.
“I’m goin’ back to King and Prince,” I announced suddenly. “I’m gonna finish.”
I resolve to keep my resolution this year.