Dogs aren’t allowed in most Maine wildlife sanctuaries, as I noted last week, but there are other options. I just found this Maine dog hikes site. Although Popham Beach State Park bans dogs (except off-season November-April,) Fort Popham State Park allows dogs all year long.
A minor fort has been at Popham in Phippsburg since the American Revolutionary War. The current fort was built in 1862 to defend the mouth of the Kennebec River during the Civil War. Upstream is the ship building city of Bath. The granite fort was only half-completed and manned during the Spanish American War and WWI. It’s fun for kids to explore.
There’s also the historic life saving station.
Fort Popham Beach is about a mile and a half long. Off season you can continue for another mile and a half along Popham Beach. Fort Popham is also the best beach for spotting seals that fish in the cross-currents. We once counted 30. Be careful of rip tides where the Kennebec River mixes with the Atlantic Ocean.
Beware of big yellow dogs too!
As you walk on the soft sand, you’ll pass 2 islands with lighthouses: Seguin Island (above) and Pond Island (first photo). On a misty day, the foghorns will serenade you. I took these photos on the first day of autumn.
I believe my Golden Retriever is half seal. My children joined Stella and the seals to jump waves. This would be Stella’s dream house:
If you’re hungry, go to Spinney’s right on the beach. You can pick out your lobster from the tank or get fish and chips or lobster rolls. There are plenty of non-seafood choices too and excellent desserts like fresh-baked pies and strawberry shortcake. A more limited menu is available take-out if you can’t leave your dog. We’ve been enjoying the mild beach weather this September.
Last weekend, however, was a stormy washout. I walked Stella to the pond by our house and admired the turning leaves. It was duck weather:
The skies are grey as some maples are hitting peak color.
Most of the time I’m at home, working on my novel. I become a total hermit when I begin a new book. Beginnings are challenging because there are so many possibilities, and you don’t know the characters well. I have two central characters, two time periods and three locations. What narrative structure will work best?
Anne Lamott has a good book on writing, Bird by Bird. The title comes from a childhood anecdote. The author’s brother was falling apart writing a science report on birds. Their father, a writer, told the boy to write it “bird by bird.” To this advice Anne Lamott adds, don’t be afraid “to write really, really shitty first drafts.”
I find the only way I can get started is to hole up in my office. A neighbor/friend complained that I might as well still be in England as she’s seen so little of me. I’ve been home for two months, but most people probably aren’t aware that I’m back. Even on weekends, while my family sleeps in, I start working and find it hard to stop.
I’m setting aside Wednesdays and half of weekends for social time – catching up with friends and visiting other blogs. After writing two books, I now understand the importance of pacing myself and not alienating my friends and family (sorry!)
A novel is a marathon, only the writer hits “the wall” on mile one instead of on mile twenty. Those first pages are painful, but by page thirty or so I find my stride. A new book is also fun. I wake up every morning eager to find out what will happen next. It’s getting easier.
Only today both kids are home sick and builders are at work in my house making it shake. The Herculean trials of a mom-writer-at-home . . . . Can you believe it's October already?
What works best for you when you start a new project?
It doesn’t need to be about writing.
UK readers: it looks like you can order Charlotte Agell's Shift (reviewed last week) in the UK through amazon.co.uk.
Dog Walkers and Photographers: please read Linda’s comment about legal restrictions.