So after a week on the beach and more lobster than should be legal, I'm back here at my newly clean desk, thinking about what comes next. Before I left, a friend asked me if I knew which project I wanted to tackle: the grumpy pet psychic detective (based on my "pet noir" short story) or "World Enough," the bigger, possibly darker rock and roll mystery I've been toying with for over a year. Or something completely different. I told her that I didn't know, that I planned on not thinking about it over vacation and letting my subconscious make its own moves. That was easier than I expected. Sitting on the beach reading (Barry Unsworth, Barbara Hambly, Louis Bayard, and – my favorite new discovery – D.J. Taylor, whose Victorian mystery Kept kept me enthralled), swimming, staring at the horizon... it was easy to forget my own projects.

Even the one afternoon when it rained, when we ended up blowing off a lunch date with friends to sit on our tiny porch and watch the lightening recede over Cape Cod Bay, I found myself totally occupied by the present, rather than thoughts of the upcoming or the planned. The one flicker I had was in a dream, in which I was working on a book and was just delirious with glee because I'd just figured out some incredibly clever clue or plot twist. I think it was "World Enough," but all I really recall is that feeling of satisfaction. And then I woke to another breezy, sun-drenched day, water warm enough to swim in, and a great blue heron fishing in the salt marsh.

All in all, quite nice.

But now I'm back, catching up on freelance, and looking ahead and still feeling rather blank. It's the week before Labor Day, so maybe my mind is still on summer break. And I am thinking of that dream and wondering when I'll get back to work. If nothing happens by next Tuesday, I'll make myself write – just to get the muscles moving again. Until then, I'm hoping for another dream...

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