Many thoughts swirling today. I’ve not written for several days because I’m struggling with writing My next book, “The Cape.” I think it’s going to be okay, but I’m stuck on about 45k words and I need to go up at least 10-15k more.
Still this is a fascinating study. The Cape of Good Hope could not be more inappropriately named: shipwrecks, perhaps 3k in recorded history; political turmoil; and deep personal feelings. In 1964 I experienced my first love–she was a girl named Retha, who came to Bloom High School when I was a senior. I made the mistake of falling in love in something that was doomed from the outset. She was an American Field Service exchange student, brilliant and funny, and I’ve never forgotten her. I don’t have a clue where she is today. The last I ever heard from her was when she got married, in England, I think at Gretna Green.
Not too long after that, I met the true love of my life, whom I subsequently married. I’ve been happy for the last 44 years, to say the least, and I would never do anything to screw that up.
Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder what happened to Retha, and I wonder if she ever thinks of me. l have several friends who’ve visited the Republic of South Africa in recent years, including my dear friends Wendel and Lu Witkay, who helped me with loans to complete my doctorate; Jo Leidig, my partner at the TV station for several years; and, to my surprise, my doctor, Pardeep Sood. He sent me several photos of beautiful nature sites in the fabulous country. Also, I’ve read extensively about it, studied the system of government, and in particular looked at the history of the country.
The Cape is emerging from my imagination, as all my books do, combined with the research that I’ve done. In particular I’m enjoying the lore of the Flying Dutchman. I just bought a print of Ryder’s painting, which captures beautifully the contradictions implicit in the legend. Tomorrow I’ll write about what I’m finding out.
In the meantime, does anyone know where Beverly Olson (maybe renamed Halvorsen) went? Can’t find her, either, a dear friend from high school with whose family Retha stayed. Also, if anyone has contacts in South Africa, how do I check on Retha?