Water, Water Everywhere . . .Guestblog by Jennifer Fromke, author of A Familiar Shore
I’m what you call a displaced Midwesterner. Raised in Michigan and living in North Carolina, I still cannot enjoy a glass of sweet tea. And pimiento cheese just plain worries me. And I sweat a lot – especially when the temperature decides to camp out in the 90s for 30 days running in summer.
But I’ve come to love this southern spot I call home now. As evidenced in my debut novel, A Familiar Shore. My main character lives in Charlotte and the opening scene takes place in Southport, NC. One of my main characters lives on a boat and travels up and down the eastern seaboard all year long.
When I lived in Michigan, a trip to the beach was a rare thing, and certainly never happened twice in the same year. But Charlotte, NC is a mere 2-1/2 hr drive to the beach. I still can’t believe how close we are! When I was a kid and we visited the beach, I tended to hang out on the pool deck. I’d go for a walk on the beach, but couldn’t wait to wash the sand off my feet and get back to the pool. When I look back at that experience, I can’t believe what a fool I was!
As an adult, I spend hours (while on vacation) watching the ocean. The vast expanse, the power of the waves, the beautiful (and odd) things that wash up, all point to the Creator. When I go to the coast now, I sit ON the beach and watch/listen/breathe in the ocean all day long. So I’ve developed this new appreciation for the beach, the ocean, since I moved to the South.
I think I’ve communicated that love for the ocean in my novel. But I also have this thing for freshwater lakes. I grew up on the Great Lakes and we played on lots of smaller lakes too. So half the novel takes place in Michigan on one such lake.
Like a Midwestern girl living in a foreign land (read: the South), my main character becomes a fish out of water when she reaches northern, unsalted shores. I didn’t put a lot of my own personality into this character, but the displacement and love for getting out on the water are definitely mine.
I travel to Michigan and stay on my favorite lake when Charlotte temperatures soar each summer. And I also look forward to watching ocean waves crash onto Carolina shores when I have a chance. If there’s one thing I’ve learned to appreciate in God’s creation, it’s water. Revelation says that in the new heaven and new earth, there is no sea. But the River of Life will flow from God’s throne and that will be all the water we need.