Archive for April, 2015

My First Message in a Bottle

IMG_0352Amid the bulbous kelp and sand, I spied a bottle half buried, as I jogged along the early morning beach last week. The San Diego sun hadn’t peeped through the marine layer yet, so objects came into focus in the pearl gray light. IMG_0347The clear bottle contained a yellow note rolled up–like it should be, a stick-on-moustache and a rubber band. Since this was spring break, I narrowed my eyes and looked around at the beach houses that lined the boardwalk, certain I’d see some college boys doubled over with laughter from their party perch.  It was 8 a.m. though, so that answered those suspects.  I inched out the note and, to my delight, it was written in a child’s handwriting. IMG_0356 I recognize a true kid’s writing after the sweet letters I’ve received over the years from my readers. Seven-year-old Garrett was on spring break at Mission Beach March 13-21. The finder was supposed to call and he gave his number, which showed on my phone was from Oklahoma.  Of course I called!  I left a message to the effect: “Hi Garrett.  I’m the lucky person who discovered your bottle–my first message in a bottle!  I write children’s books (and was on my way to a book signing as I left the message) and just wanted to let you know you may have inspired my next idea for a picture book. Call me back if you’d like.” And then I left my number. Which, I’m sure, his mother must have said, “I’d prefer you don’t call that strange woman back.”  Or maybe Garrett ran down to the beach that morning before breakfast and tossed it about fifteen feet into the waves. Then ran back to his rental, thinking all the while it would make it to China, instead of some weird lady who found it an hour later. And maybe Mom got my message and didn’t give it to him so he wouldn’t be disappointed.  I’m a writer: we think like this all the time!

The good news is I’m still mulling over this bottle and how to turn it into one of my whodunits. What was the significance of the stick-on-mustache and rubber band? Should I write it as a picture book or chapter book?  Should I have the main character Garrett?  Only time in a bottle will tell.  Sorry, I’m a writer…


April 1, 2015 at 3:21 pm 1 comment

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