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My love of 30 years and I moved aboard an old trawler to head into the sunset, spend five years at sea and live our dream. . .

[Cue orchestration of “When you wish upon a star.]


He would navigate to ports unknown. I would have endless hours to write . . .

I happily backed up my writing and tossed my darling character, Katie, overboard. Her story bored me anyway. Tread water, dearie. I’ll revive you later—when I’ve finished my boat projects.

Then one day, an early humid heat wave suffocated my heady happiness. (ad nauseum, but it serves the story.) As I knelt on the deck of our new home to scrub the teak, my knees whined and I wondered if my writerly instincts had been sucked dry by the scorching sun. More likely this old writer was simply fading away. Heat has that a/effect on me.

Later, as the sky turned shades of surreal,

my husband’s joke—that everything on our boat works, just not all at the same time—didn’t seem so funny. The projects would never end. Years of ground-in grime lay before me, begging for attention.

Katie would surely drown.

Still, I pressed on. Armed with a toolbox of cleaners, I gently brushed an area of teak and could barely see a difference. And those other areas, well they’d absolutely require a brutal sanding.

But when I finally rinsed away the sludge, unique imperfections appeared. Dark firm streaks came to life and highlighted lighter, softer fibers.

I lost myself in the stunning, breathing texture of the teak.

That’s it! I thought. Katie’s grimy antagonist of a brother might actually fascinate someone if I could reveal a softer fiber in his otherwise brutal personality. And oh my god! Katie is paper thin. Give the poor girl a pulse and an imperfection or two, for crying out loud.

I began to laugh. Scrubbed teak? Eh, maybe. More like revised it!

I had managed to slow down and pay attention, allowing my subconscious mind to make new connections, aka flaneuring. I first heard about this at Vermont College of Fine Arts  during Julie Larios‘ amazing lecture on The Art of Flaneuring. Thank you, Julie!

So, have you flaneured lately?

And for what it’s worth, making dreams come true is absolutely possible if you are willing to slow down, give up what you think you need for what you really want, pay attention, make new connections and, oh yeah, sell a lot of stuff. 🙂