Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Surprise, surprise

Break out the Beach Boys. I just love surprises, so when I drove my sweat-dripping-from-my-earlobe self out of the 105-degree inland temps to the edge of the Pacific Ocean, I was dreaming of cool breezes, damp sand underfoot and the whoosh of waves.

I didn't expect half the known universe to be there, too. Silly me.


But it turned out to be fantastic. I had stumbled into the San Clemente Ocean Festival where, among other things, cherry woody wagons lined the pier. The detail work was amazing, even the extra touches like the two old single-fin surfboards with inlaid-wood skegs.

There was even a gangsta surf wagon. Is this not Al Capone's beach ride or what?

I love imagination, and there's nothing like wandering into the unexpected to jumpstart creative thoughts. This car screams, "Write a flash fiction about me!"

But not this time. I am determined to spend my creative dollars wisely. I will finish Sea Daughters and get it out to beta readers this summer. Yesterday I revised two chapters so I'm paddling along as promised.

But back to the festival, which was so fun.


There were contests for dory boats, kayaks and surfboards of assorted kinds.

Lifeguards come from all over the Southern California coast to compete in the boat races. The two-person teams row out through the surf, around markers beyond the end of the pier and come back in through surf. Sometimes the waves flip them, sometimes they get a helluva ride.


There were sea creature sightings, as well.

People got up close and, um, friendly with the mermaids.


In keeping with surprises, I decided to try out something other bloggers do called Teaser Tuesday, in which you pick a random page in a book you're reading and share a few lines. I just finished the remarkable WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan. The book was a surprise in that I won an autographed copy from Frankie Diane Mallis and knew nothing about it other than good buzz. It swept me away with the voices of two entirely different Will Graysons whose paths cross. Utterly real and honest as it dealt with teen relationships, both gay and heterosexual, it was biting, funny and painful. So here's some random lines:

But nothing violates the rules of shutting up and not caring so much as flirting--except possibly for that enchantingly horrible moment when you act upon the flirting, that moment where you seal your heartbreak with a kiss. There should be a third rule, actually: 1. Shut up. 2. Don't care too much. And 3. Never kiss a girl you like.


How about you? Any refreshing surprises lately?


Donna said...

What a fun post! Thanks for the trip to the beach. Happy writing.

Jackee said...

Awesome festival! As a car person, those are some cool rides. You are lucky to live close to the beach, but I bet sometimes you wish not so many others did too!

Hope you're having a great summer, Pat. :o)

Tere Kirkland said...

Great pics, Pat! Thanks so much for sharing. Keep on truckin' with Sea Daughters (that's the Hawai'i surfing story, right?), I'd love to read more of it!

Stephanie Faris said...

What fun! And those wagons look cool. I wish I lived close to a beach. Sigh.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Donna: Sometimes you gotta just spread the fun, youknow?

Jackee: There were awesome cars there. One was a woody fire engine from NY! When it's not tooooo hot, I'm having a great summer. I hope you are, too. No more fires, for goodness sake.

Tere: Thanks! Yes, it's a book that takes place mostly in and on the ocean, so I can consider these trips as research. ;)

Stephanie: They were beyond cool. :D
I wish I lived right on the coast, but at least I can get there within an hour. It is one of the perks of SoCal.


What fun pictures! It looks like you had a blast! Thanks for sharing : )

Good luck with Sea Daughters!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

This post made me so beach-hungry.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Victoria!

Karen: Beach hungry--I really like that description. Sometimes it gnaws at me.

Suzanne Casamento said...

That festival looks like so much fun! What beach was that?

And I love the quote from Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I too, heard good buzz about it. Gotta read it!

As for your question - It was refreshing to return to the west coast from my east coast trip. Although I shouldn't have been so surprised that I felt so thankful that I almost kissed the beach.

J.B. Chicoine said...

How come whenever I go to the ocean, all I get to see are all those boring waves and soaring seagulls, lol!
I would love to see one of those old wood panel cars in real life--thanks for the pics!

Jemi Fraser said...

Those cars are fabulous! Love them :)

I've heard the good buzz about Will Grayson as well - glad to hear it lived up to the hype. :)

VR Barkowski said...

Surprises? Not too many this week. Let's see, in Atlanta it gets so humid the windows fog up on the OUTSIDE. Don't recall seeing that on the West Coast. Speaking of which, your beautiful photos are making me homesick. Need. Beach. Never realized there was such a thing as ocean withdrawal. :)

Congrats and best of luck on your progress with Sea Daughters!

Janet Johnson said...

The festival sounds great! I love stumbling on surprises like that. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Suzanne: It was San Clemente, which is still a small town--so hard to find that anymore. And I totally get kissing the beach. Oh yeah.

JB: Ha! Ho-hum ocean. I should have taken more car photos. There were more amazing ones. It was so cool.

Jemi: Glad you enjoyed!
What I liked about WGWG was it felt fresh and honest with some pretty memorable characters.

VR: Humidity and me don't mix. I still remember thinking I could cut the air in Florida with a knife and build something with it.
I get beach withdrawal even when I can drive to it. I soooo want to move back.

Janet: It was so refreshing, a real uplift!

Jennifer Shirk said...

How fun! "Al Capone's beach ride" cracked me up! LOL

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Jennifer: Thanks, you made me grin, too. :D

Susan Berger said...

"Hmmm," Ophie said. "My school is changing and I'm always on my way to somewhere else."
"At least you're not always with strangers. You have a sister!" said Tana.
"Yeah, but she's still to scrunched up and screamy to be much fun."
"She'll get bigger," Brittany said.
"I know," said Ophie. "Anyway I never feel like a stranger. I always think I am more of a...surprise magical visitor," she said spreading her arms like a fan as unmagical Margaret Scott Elementary came into view.
Ophie Out Of OZ by Kathleen O'Dell I loved this book... and your post

Phoenix said...

I'd be up for an Ocean Festival any day of the week. The temps up in LA are getting hotter and hotter...ugh.

One of these days I'm gonna surprise my boy by taking him to a drive-in theater. He seems to guess all my other surprises so I'm hoping this one works!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Susan! Hope you're feeling much better, and I love that excerpt and all surprise magical visitors. :)

Phoenix: oooo, drive-in theater. How could anyone guess that? Haven't been to one in forever. It's such a completely 'other' way to view movies. I don't think I'd find it very comfortable in my Miata, though!

storyqueen said...

It's like the whole beach was throwing a party for Sea Daughters! (Even the ocean is happy for you!)

Love that mermaid!


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shelley: Ha! I love the idea it was sea-daughters party. :D
And that mermaid was so cute and funny.

Ara Burklund said...

Great pix, Tricia!

Your kind words on my blog the other day were a fun surprise. : )

Stephanie Thornton said...

I had a lovely surprise in Greece- found a deserted archaeological site and got to explore at my leisure. I'll post pictures soon!

That gangsta wagon is awesome!

Lydia Kang said...

Looks like it was so fun! And I love that excerpt. A great teaser! I'm very interested!

Talli Roland said...

Wow, I feel like I've been to the beach now - thank you!

Fun surprises. Hm. Nothing really!

Sarah Laurence said...

Even if the weather wasn’t, those cars are cool. Funny quotation! I’ve always meant to read a David Levithan YA novel. Good luck with your writing projects.

I'm not getting much done with my daughter home but at least we're going to the beach this afternoon. I'll have time to work when she goes to camp next week.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi and welcome, Ara!

Stephanie: Oooooo, I love finding deserted old places. I can't wait to hear about your trip.--Isn't that wagon the best? :)

Lydia: It was a fun exercise to open at random. Usually, I post first or last sentences, but it's interesting to see what's out there in the great middle. hee-hee

Talli: Glad I could take you with me! ;)

Anonymous said...

Great photos!! Love the cars! And that quote from Will Grayson Will Grayson, that's a book I want to read!!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Sarah: The book is quite funny, although it has its dark moments, especially when we're in the 'other' Will Grayson's POV. There is a larger-than-life third character, Tiny, who profoundly touches all of their lives.
Good luck with your projects, too!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Paul! *waves* I'm tickled you like the photos. It was so fun. And I bet you'll love Will Grayson. It wasn't like anything else I've read lately.

Unknown said...

Well, you know I love those pics. Especially the mermaid, but how cool is the gangsta mobile. NICE!

Hurry up with that MS. I can't wait to hear about your deal.


Unknown said...

What a fabulous festival! I'm in love!!! I love surprises and seeing new things, several festivals and markets are so much fun, even if they are jam packed!

Robyn Campbell said...

Excellent teaser, Pat. I want to def read that book.

Those cars are awesome. We have a 1939 street rod. Fire engine red, mama! The hubby rebuilds them.

You had fun, I presume?? Wish I could have been there. We could've rode in on horseback. ;)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Karen: I'm swimming as fast as I can--well, maybe I should put on fins. And I can't wait to hear about your deal!

Jen: It really is fun when you stumble into it, isn't it?

Robyn: oooo, have you ever posted a picture of the street rod?
In California, the only horses on beaches are ridden by cops during big crowd events. :(

cleemckenzie said...

I love it when the Woodies come to Santa Cruz. Then there's the Hot August Nights in Reno. Love the parade of hot rod-- raked, channeled, souped up and altogether a line up of refreshing surprises.

Anonymous said...

Great pics. And I so want to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Linda Kage said...

Looks like a fun trip. And I love that excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Lee: Oh, I bet Santa Cruz does a spectacular show! It's amazing the time and love that gets put into restoring old cars.

Medeia: Thanks! That is one of those books that feels so real but is presented in a fresh way.

Linda: Hi there! It was sooo fun.

Julie Dao said...

Wow! What a beautiful carnival by the sea :) Looks like you had a wonderful day of sun and fun and water. Thank you for the lovely pictures! No surprises for me lately, but I am remaining hopeful!

Unknown said...

Oh all the pictures, I think I like the red car on top the best...it reminds me a bit of the Archie comics on the beach.

Sounds like you had a blast though--thanks for sharing it all with us!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Julie: Thanks, it was a fine day.

Beth: Archie! Haha, that's great.