I grew up a landlubber. Right in the middle of the US in Oklahoma. When I married and moved to San Diego, where my husband was stationed with the Marines, imagine my surprise to find that I loved the ocean. It actually saved my sanity, I think. After the newness of being in a strange city wore off, I became homesick. Bad. It didn’t matter that I was where I was supposed to be…at my husband’s side, I still missed ‘home’. So every Sunday afternoon we’d take a small picnic lunch, the heavy quilt my grandmother had made me years before, and head out to La Jolla.
I could sit there for hours on end, I think, and watch the waves as they pounded the rocks. The sound soothed my soul and healed my homesick heart.
We’ve been back once since he’s gotten off of active duty. Nothing seemed quite the same as I remembered it. But that’s okay. Couples still stroll along the walks, kids run and play, harbor seals still haul themselves out of the water to sun. Life is good. I hold my memories close. And I can translate those memories, those emotions, into my stories.
So far, I haven’t written a story set by the ocean, and maybe I never will. The loneliness I experienced, the isolation I felt from my family is still real. Hopefully, I can transfer that to one of my characters at some point.
I think each of our characters have a little bit of us in there. Somewhere. Even if we haven’t experienced a certain emotion, well we can use our vivid imaginations. After all, that’s what we’re good at isn’t it? Imagining how people feel, what they think, then putting that on paper.
Whether you’re a landlubber or not, you can still write compelling stories about the sea. Simply set your mind free and let it flow…like the waves washing up on the shore.