I won’t be on land this Thanksgiving, so I guess this will be my Thanksgiving post. God willing, I’ll be somewhere in the Atlantic. I will start out in Italy and will wind up in Brazil. I plan to sleep in, write my heart out every day, have meals served just the way I want them, and watch the big blue ocean all around me. I’m going to read some of my best friend’s books. I’m going to work out every day and get a massage every week. I want to meet the captain and the staff, put my hands on the wheel and feel the power of the ship.
I’d like to meet new friends, learn how to talk to someone in a language that I didn’t grow up with. Watch how other people treat their children. Look into the eyes of the elderly passengers and maybe ask them questions about things I will never see. Learn from them. I want to soak it all in so I can put some of it, maybe only about 1% of it, on paper.
Something I hadn’t thought about when I booked this vacation was that when we travel across the Atlantic, we will be leaving the winter of Italy to the Summer of Brazil.
I plan to stand on the deck of the ship, because I want to see if I can feel it. Do you suppose I will? Will the water swirl in the opposite direction there? Will the stars look different? Would it be good luck to make love to my husband when we cross the Equator like all those seamen’s legends?
I don’t think I’ve ever studied the night sky from the southern hemisphere. There are people I have never met I will meet. I will learn about places I’ve never seen before. I’ve never been to South America. I’m going to walk off the ship and think of my hero Daniel, the Brazilian painter who stole my heart in the very first book I wrote, and who turned me into a writer. I didn’t do it. The characters in my book did.
Because I can.
Are we all so insane we don’t cherish every day? That we fill our lives with “news” when everything we need to know is all around us, in the magic and love of those around us? When the greatest gift is our ability to imagine things that could be so strong that they feel real. To connect people instead of running away from them. To give more than we take.
I want to leave a hole the size of a continent when I’m done being here. Like my beautiful (unnamed) heroine for a book I’m working on says to her damaged SEAL hero after he’s told her he doesn’t like complicated (excerpt from SEAL Destiny, a novella in High Octane Heroes):
She took in a sudden brief inhale. Her gaze quickly diverted to the ocean, giving him a full pure look at her upper torso, every curve and valley, until he thought perhaps he could even taste her skin. What Luke saw in profile was a strong, handsome woman with a body made for hard loving, who was unafraid.
Then she turned back and faced him fully. Her body dropped to her knees in front of him so quickly he thought perhaps she’d gotten suddenly ill. “I don’t do uncomplicated,” she whispered. “I like it complicated and rich. I like entangled. I like feeling everything and being sorely missed when I’m gone.”
My wish for you at Thanksgiving? Turn up the intensity and the capacity of your love.