Posts Tagged ‘Carl Hiaasen’

When was the last time you danced?
A question put to the sick by a Native American medicine man

This headed up the June 24th post by Mark Nepo in his The Book of Awakening. And I had to stop. When was the last time I danced? When was the last time I sang? Or really laughed hard? And the answer I came up with was that whenever it was, it was too, too long ago. And that got me pretty bummed. I love to dance.

There are periods in our lives when dancing is just so low on the agenda that we forget all about it. Although I vaguely remember dancing about the kitchen, holding one of my cats when she was really not doing well. I thought a loving waltz might help. I’m guessing it did, I’m sure as much for me as her.

Dancing is wonderful and I’ve been dancing for as long as I can remember. Lately? Not so much. With all that’s been going on I’ve barely listened to music or read a whole book. Yesterday, with a number of stressful situations at least partially resolved, I decided to change all that. I looked through my CD’s and put on a favorite that I haven’t listened to in a long time, p.s. A Toad Retrospective from Toad the Wet Sprocket. I  came across them in the early 90’s and  have several of their albums; I love their sound and this compilation is their best.

I hit “Play” and grabbed my book, Skinny Dip, something cool to drink, and sat down on the sofa and read. And read. And read `til I finished the book. (Yes, I did make dinner for all those who were hungry and then continued reading.)

OK, I didn’t dance.  But I listened to music I love and allowed myself something I rarely do … to simply relax and enjoy. I admit I am still feeling a wee bit guilty, but all the things I didn’t do are still right here waiting for me, and today is another day. Dance? That might happen at any time.

So you might ask yourself … when was the last time you danced? sang? laughed so hard you couldn’t stop? I’m certainly no medicine man, but if the answer is anything like mine was … maybe you, too, need to carve out a little “you” time. Put on the music and see what happens.

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I’d forgotten what a great writer Carl Hiaasen is. In the last week, while I focused on everything imaginable to keep one of my animals alive and recovering steadily, my focus was hardly on reading, much as I tried.

I started The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo, certain that her magic would be a welcome respite from the vigilance I needed to keep over Gypsy Rose, lest she fall and seriously hurt herself. Sad to say, I finished the book, but could not appreciate the magic in my frazzled state, so I added Kate back to the waiting-to-be-read books stack. When I pick this book up again, I know I will be in a better place to appreciate one of my favorite children’s book authors.

At the oft-mentioned annual library book sale, I picked up Carl Hiaasen’s Skinny Dip. I’ve read a couple of his other novels – Sick Puppy, (which I kept), Lucky You and Basket Case – but none recently. I was drawn to this book as being a perfect read right now. Not only was I right, but I now remember how much I enjoy his writing. Aside from an excellent use of the English language, Hiaasen has a tongue-in-cheek, lightly sarcastic sense of humor injected with an appreciation of the absurd that makes for not just enjoyable reading, but sometimes laugh-out-loud funny.

His stories take place in South Florida and center around murder, personal greed, and political corruption. Those that I’ve read are intricately laced with the issues that challenge the area’s environmental survival, yet these never jump out at you or intrude. In Skinny Dip, Joey Perrone is heaved overboard a luxury cruise liner by her husband Chaz. She knows too much about something illicit he is involved in, and as a secondary gain to her murder, Chaz plans to eventually figure out how to inherit her millions. But he dismisses her having been a collegiate champion swimmer, and with the waters being as shark infested as they are, he assumes she will be dead or presumed so. Her survival is known by only one other person, Mick, a retired detective who rescues her from the shallow waters just offshore. “Instead of rushing to the police and reporting her husband’s crime, Joey decides to stay dead and (with Mick’s help) screw with Chaz until he screws himself.” Throw in a droll Norwegian detective, Karl Rolvaag, and Hiaasen’s humor and Skinny Dip has all the makings of another great tale, and I’m only five chapters in.

Thanks, Carl, I believe I’m back to reading!

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