Impossibly narrow cobblestone streets. The scent of incense hanging in doorways. Old world charm. As I see it, Puerto Rico has exactly one thing going for it. It’s not New Jersey. I wonder if natives of Jersey, just off the coast of the UK, upon hearing of New Jersey, fancy a new and improved Jersey, crossing the pond with grand expectations of a better Jersey based on the old. Imagine their disappointment when discovering a land incorporating clichéd mobsters with Gotti Boy hair, bad fake tans and jewelry. (Just so we’re clear, there’s no excuse for a man to wear any more than a wedding ring and/or a watch. A medic alert ID, maybe. But that’s it.)
So I find myself in a seaside hotel, my room overlooking a courtyard. Of course, someone forgot to add the yard to the court, ‘cause all I see is concrete. After wandering a while, surprised not to encounter packs of wild dogs or chickens (I did run into large mobs of cruise ship passengers though) I took a chance on a Mexican restaurant in the shadow of the ships.
There I sat, beneath a thatched roof, listening to samba music and Pink. I seated myself in a corner. Who wants to stand out when dining alone? I didn’t realize I was beneath the one tourist trap in the place – a neon blue adobe sun, hanging above my table. If I never make it as a writer, at least I’ll live on in someone’s vacations pictures.
It seems good service stops at the dock. I already knew this of course. Living so close to the world’s greatest Mexican restaurant only sets me up for disappointment elsewhere. Lesson learned: Leave the Mexican food to the Mexicans.
On the weird front, the Bermuda Triangle front, I took this picture as we passed the Eleuthra Island chain of the Bahamas. Is anyone out there a meteorologist? And no, those aren’t shadows. It’s land.
On to good news. Michael Grant, author of the GONE series, as well as many others, including ANIMORPHS, was quite complimentary after reading my pitch for SCHMITTY THE PIRATE. Among other things, he said:
This is definitely a potential series concept -- you can spin story lines out forever. . . I don't think there's anything similar out there, but I actually believe in "counter-programming" the market, going into new directions.
This from a guy who’s sold 30 million books worldwide. About my idea.
So San Juan be damned. I’m feeling pretty good. Pretttyyy, prettttyyyyyy, pretttyyyyyyy good.