In an earlier blog I mentioned the possibility of writing a book or novel entitled “TropiGal.”  I have written a little already focusing on the characters who, of course, are mostly women. The central theme is women who have moved to Key West/the Keys for their own unique reasons. I’ll be telling stories about their triumphs and challenges.

The main character is named Lucky Wheeler (at least for now), a transplant from up north. Her mother decided to name her daughter Lucky, which was her mom’s maiden surname, a name she felt very proud of because of how unique it sounds. It seemed like a great name for a little girl and a way to carry on the family name since she was married and had changed her name to her husband’s.

Lucky is an artist who was drawn to move to Key West to live her dream as a creative person full time. She meets Mark, a musician, while visiting the Keys, and they really hit it off. She’s based on me, to some degree, but is a fictional character, so her experience will not be completely autobiographical. They say, “write what you know,” so it seems best to start with my own journey, however fictionalized.

I’m writing various stories at this point and not in a linear fashion. I’m currently writing a piece where Lucky is on a painting trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park. Here is a small excerpt first draft for example:

Lucky’s hand hung in mid air, paintbrush loaded with cerulean blue, poised, motionless, like a heron preparing to strike at a fish. Peering around her canvas at the walls of Fort Jefferson, she fixed her gaze, enjoying the contrast between the red brick structure and the intense blue of the sky. Her brush darted forward, the ball of paint now committed to, her hand stroking the color down, then up. She dipped her brush again and continued filling in the sky.

Artist Patricia Coote had organized a plein air painting expedition to the Dry Tortugas National Park through the Studios of Key West. Lucky jumped at the chance to not only pay a visit to this remote Civil War era outpost but also the opportunity to spend the afternoon basking in the sun while painting. The day couldn’t be more glorious with nothing but a few high wispy clouds far off on the horizon.

Choosing a location where she could capture some of the snorkelers struggling in and out of the water with their flippers, Lucky spent some time doing some quick studies in her sketch book and taking photos. She was inspired enough to take some ideas home to paint later. Since this was a plein air experience, French for “painting outdoors,” Lucky wanted to make sure she at least had a pretty good start on one painting before the ferry returned them to Key West.

There are two ways one can travel to the Dry Tortugas, which is 70 miles west of Key West. You can travel by seaplane ferry. The painting group had taken the Yankee Freedom II, a high speed catamaran operated by the National Park Service.

I’ve never written a novel. I have written some short stories, poetry, songs, of course. I’m looking forward to the exploration of another side of creativity. I’m highly inspired by the stories of many strong women who have moved here and I’m looking forward to telling those stories. Now, back to writing.

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