Walking on Beaches at Night with Men.


J and T had dinner on the pier. J remembered that it was not in her best interest to order capellini pomodoro, so she ordered the clam-chowder-sour-dough bowl and vowed that if she had to share the oyster crackers, she would. T had the rib eye, creamed spinach and, when offered the basket of warm rolls, refused. The conversation ranged from the discovery that Einstein was right ­– relativity is real – to the proper way to fold a fitted bed sheet – Martha Stewart’s version is difficult for a dyslexic to get past step one.

After the Lava cake and some mighty espresso, the two ventured down to the sand. The moon was a slice short of full; seagulls were foraging for the buried remnants of PBandJ sandwiches on organic wheat bread and Dorito specks. J and T stepped over abandoned buckets then moved closer to the moveable line between dry and wet.

J stepped on a plastic rake, causing her to lose her balance [all those Pilates classes didn’t help at all] and fall on the knee-from-hell. Then, as if it had been waiting for her, a wave aimed its foamy fingers at her and struck with such force that her glasses sprang off her head.

T tried to help, but not if his Gucci 1953 horsebit crocodile loafers would be baptized by a primal sea. He waited until the water drew back, grasped J’s hand and lifted her out of the sand.

“My glasses. Can you see them?”

T was at a loss. Had she been wearing glasses? He hadn’t noticed.

J vowed that never again would she walk on the beach in the moonlight, after dinner, with a man on the first date.

She would consider lunch.

Photo: Myra Alex

“Ditch dialogue qualifiers,” said the baboon, rapidly falling backward.

manga-heroQualifiers are like potholes in the road. They bump your readers off the hook.

Here’s a little story designed to inject humor into the lesson.

“Is that your Uber driver?”

Taken out of context, the question is straightforward. Banal.

Could be more exciting if the Uber driver in question were dressed in a zebra costume. Or, steering a Sherman tank.

I wish this had been the case.

It was not.

Repeat writing advice here:

“Never use dialogue qualifiers. They distract from the story.”

Now, continue the story.

Ok smarty, how do you flesh out “is that your Uber driver?”

Let’s try “Is that your Uber driver?” he asked, as the SUV sped past, flipped a U in the middle of the block and came back.

All right, action. Show me. Add depth to the characters.

“Is that your Uber driver?” The California Highway Patrolman asked Ivan, the hog farmer who was my 3:30 Uber fare. He told me about my brush with the law then we got into more important things.

Yes. Ivan raises Mangalitsa hogs. Just this morning, a sow gave birth to a dozen piglets, who will grow up to provide healthy, hearty organic meat. Ivan is moving to Napa to start an organic farm. He has friends in the highway patrol. The pigs will stay in Escondido.

I will never make a U-turn in the middle of the block again.

And never forget the pigs.

It’s clear: We’re all addicted.


ImageMy business, The Writing Loft, moved to the Presidio Building on May 1, 2014. Now, my ‘loft’ is ensconced below Starbucks. It’s still a ‘loft’ but on a different plane.

Who hangs out at Starbuck’s? Me. I’m a writer. I’ve seen others of my ilk at Starbucks across the country. Location. Location. Location.

On Friday, May 9, a sign appeared on the establishment’s double doors. “We will be closed for remodeling starting Sunday, May 11 until Saturday, May 17.

All right. I can survive. I have a Verismo® pod machine. I will survive. I will remember that the place is closed. Others forgot. On Monday, I watched a trail of rejected consumers stream up and back the steps. I hoped they would be well and survive.

Then, I ran out of Verismo espresso pods. Much like people who place phone receivers to their ears when evaluating phones at Radio Shack, knowing that the phone isn’t live but checking anyway, I joined the sad line of humankind, shuffling up and away from 300 South El Camino Real with de-caffeinated souls.

It is now Friday, May 16. 7:15 am. I have been up since 4:00 am, performing a Vulcan Mind Meld on the awesome construction team that’s been working above my head all week.

May the espresso gods and morning bun goddesses place gentle foam and sprinkle fine chocolate blessings upon you.

Please finish today. Please.

Postscript. They did.