Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Week Four: Fantasy Time

Yesterday afternoon Bruce and I sat in Adirondack chairs on the dock by the Ephraim Visitor Center. He read and I wrote reflection questions for four of my essays. A sailing class was within view, occasionally distracting me when one of the boats rolled over. Necessary lessons for young sailors. Kayaks glided by, oars in unison, looking effortless. At one point page one of the one of the essays got away from me and landed in the water. No need to try and retrieve it, for it is safely stored in my laptop, but as it floated "out to sea," I chuckled at the fantasy that like a message in a bottle a mythical agent might find the title page of my essay about regrets and be so impressed that she would find me to announce, "I must represent you." (Ah yes, the symbolism of the essay being about "regrets.")

That's not the only fantasy explored while here. One day Bruce and I followed back roads as close to the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula as we could. What would it be like to live there?, we wondered whenever we saw a For Sale sign. No, too woodsy. No, too small. No, too close to the road. No, too ugly. No, too expensive, even for our fantasy life. As we came around a bend, however, we both gasped. A take your breath away moment. A small cottage in a field, standing alone looking out on Lake Michigan. Property lines with a split rail fence. An overgrown yard. Driveway blocked. No one there. Abandoned? We both remembered finding the one room schoolhouse we eventually bought and renovated as our vacation home in the same around the bend way. That had been a magical moment, too. A fantasy we breathed reality into.

Bruce, of course, reacts much faster than I do. He clambered over the fence to investigate this lake view cottage. I waited in the car, but wrote down the address, 1114 South Lake Michigan Drive, Clay Banks. "Looks abandoned. There's a story here," he says upon his return as he takes a picture with my IPhone. At the next house he chats with a neighbor. "We've summered here six years and never seen anyone."

I love the fantasy of such a find, but am more often content to let it live in the imagination. I think that's where this one will stay. There's a time to turn fantasy into reality, like doing the work to finish writing my book and finding an agent. Sometimes, however, the fantasy and imagination is its own pleasure.

The mystery is we don't always know.

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