Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Between business and pleasure

I’m writing this morning from the glorious Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California. Although this hotel is only about an hour from my home, I’ve come to love this property for a number of reasons. The smartest reason is that the Waterfront has discovered that perfect blend between business and pleasure. I am here for business, but pleasure is what I’m getting right now as I sit in my room watching the famous Surf City waves peak and crest in the early morning ocean mist.

I arrived last night just after sunset and stepped out of my car to the scent of wood smoke, savory hotdogs, and crusty marshmallows rising from the firepits lining the beach. I couldn’t really distinguish the hot dogs and marshmallows, but having sat around those fire pits many times through the years, my memory filled in the details.

Poised on Pacific Coast Highway, along the Orange County Riviera, The Waterfront offers views of the wide sand and rolling waves from almost every room in the house. The first thing I do when checking into a hotel room is open the curtains (okay, this after tipping the bellboy). The lights along the famous Huntington Beach Pier had just lit, reflecting in the teal-blue ocean below.

This pier is one of my favorite childhood memories. My mother once dreamed she was standing on that pier watching me struggling in the water below, sucked under and swept out before her eyes. I don’t think I ever told her how that dream haunted me for years. Looking back, I think the dream was symbolic. She watched me go through some pretty rough times, unable to reach me from her motherly perch. The ocean of life threw me back, coughing and sputtering on the sandy shores of adulthood.

I want to thank J.D. Shafer and the fabulous Hilton Waterfront staff for making my stay in their house so fabulous. After my SITE-SoCal meeting today I’ll drive north on PCH a few miles to Seal Beach, where I spent many wild and carefree days as a child, and where my character Sheila’s daddy lives in my novel, THE SWORD SWALLOWER’S DAUGHTER.

Where did you spend your summers or your wild and carefree days of youth? Click the comments link below.


Devon Ellington said...

How beautiful!

When my dad was alive, we alternated weekends between Provincetown, MA (in the 60s, when it was still an artists' colony) and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

Devon~I envy people who grew up in the northeast. The landscape is so diverse, the culture rich, and the setting so alive with history.

EJ said...

Dropped out of school at 16 and hit the road so I spent a lot of brief moments in different places, mostly east of the Mississippi. After an aborted slow dance with Uncle Sam, I venture to the other side of Moon River and did a bit of wandering there.

Kim Stagliano said...

Falmouth Heights Beach, Cape Cod. Eventhough the boardwalk ALWAYS gave me a splinter. There's nothing like a Pixie Stick and Bonano's taffy at the beach as a kid.... We also went to the White Mountains. Skiing at Bretton Woods was a post Christmas holiday for many years. That CA looks pretty good to me though!

Kim from Backspace

Lisa McMann said...

Carolyn, this is beautiful!
I'm so sorry I didn't get to meet you on Monday in AZ with Terri. She probably told you about the mess I was in! Anyway, I wanted to pop in, say hello, and tell you THANK YOU for your comment on the blog where I posted Danny Boy. I really appreciate it! Hopefully we'll have a chance to meet again.

I love your blog!

Carolyn Burns Bass said...

EJ~ Sounds like there's a story in your aborted slow dance with Uncle Sam. Have you written about it? Speaking of "Slow Dance," that is my favorite of your stort stories. Have you found a lit home for it yet?

Kim~ Great to see you here. I enjoyed my visit to your blog. Thanks for the memory of Cape Cod. I've never been there, only been up the East Coast as far as Newport, Rhode Island. Cape Cod is among my "must see" destinations.

Lisa~ I was disappointed not to meet you at the Cheesecake Factory the other day. Terri did tell me you were buried with words. We sent you good vibes as we sucked our Diet Cokes and ate our salads in between all our yakking. Thanks so much for stopping by.