Keep The Lake Clean: A commitment to place and time


It was a mere comment I saw that made me think of this photo, and my place within it. I mean figuratively, as I took the photo. I saw how someone had mentioned how they had found a way to monetize their desire for travel to the extent that it was their sole livelihood. Which I appreciate, and also harbor a bit of jealousy, as I hoped I would do the same. While things are going well for me and mine, I certainly am not at the point of retiring to my mountaintop villa just yet.

This made me consider the trips I make, alone and with my family. Now, if you have been following along, you know one of my favorite places in NC is Lake Lure, a beautiful manmade lake that is near nothing except Chimney Rock, and both are a far drive from Asheville or Hendersonville. This means the place is somewhat secluded and uncompromised. I asked someone working there who vacations at Lake Lure, and he said that a lot of people in the hospitality industry go there simply to get away from the very thing in which they work. Not many people can do that, truly vacate, empty themselves.

I see this at my beach, where the giant houses are populated with a community of isolated family and friends, never venturing out to make a connection. To the point of hauling the sofa from the rental to the beach because they own both for that week. Then dig a hole. Do more work.

It just makes me think that perhaps the greater statistics, the majority of travelers truly are the functional illiterate who don't read, don't engage, and don't bother to stop somewhere unless everyone else is going, too. Thus the photo of the crowded waterfall. I've been wondering if my desire to keep preserving the cool roadside spots from times before has enough appeal. The folks that read my books are my kind of people, but there doesn't seem to be enough of us to demand a sequel, so to speak. There a lot of people who want to see a waterfall, but not many that will walk to one.

Did you know that Lake Lure is home to a series of bottomless pools, a collection of black cool ponds and soft waterfalls, closed off behind this covered bridge? That there is a farm village under the water? Two hotels are allegedly haunted, the dance floor from Dirty Dancing is preserved in nearby Chimney Rock, and the big monolith that gives its name to the town had ghosts seen flying around it in years long past? I've told those stories, most of them at least. I think of all the places I wrote about in my books and all the people who go to those places on vacation, never realizing the stories right beneath their feet. I'm not sure how to convince them to pick up a book and read, besides the constant cajoling and begging I seem to do in order to provide that same life for my kid that everyone else wants.

It's a weird world, being an author, telling stories that are important to me, but may not be to others. I still can't figure out why more people pick up my collection of ghost stories than any other book. I'm glad they do, every day is a day closer to my kid going to college, and I appreciate the support for us, as well as authors everywhere.

Who knows, either my next book will be a bigger hit, or maybe I just need a vacation. Just sit on the beach on my rented sofa and read something.

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