Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance...and Lots of Beaches

If you're wondering where I've been, my younger daughter graduated (brief pause for an indulgence in maternal pride here: Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude) from her college down in Florida last weekend and we decided to turn the expedition to celebrate her achievement (and help haul home four years' accumulation of stuff) into a brief vacation. At one point we were afraid only Steve would be able to go while I headed for high ground with the family's overpopulation of cats (I cannot drive Steve's hulking white SUV, nicknamed "Moby Dick"). But in the end the Mississippi River's threat to New Orleans receded and I was able to make the trip, too .

I know most people think graduations are boring, but I actually love them--or at least, I love the beginning of the ceremony when the graduates march in accompanied by a seemingly endless loop of Pomp and Circumstance. The auditorium or stadium (or giant tent overlooking the bay, in this case) swells with such a heartwarming surge of joy and pride that I usually find myself fighting back tears. Students graduating with honors are justly proud of their academic achievement, while those not graduating with honors are equally proud (and often enormously relieved) simply to have managed to graduate at all. It's a long, hard slog through college, four years of fun and pain, growing and decision making, sacrifice and transformation, exploration and discovery. And it all seems to come together in that one uplifting, shared moment of giddy rejoicing. I am soooo glad I didn't have to miss it.

Woven in amongst the various ceremonies were also multiple trips with my daughter to her favorite beaches and piers. She grew up on the beach in Australia, so the last four years have been bliss for her. And somewhere, strolling along some shell-strewn beach, I stumbled across the solution to a problem that's been holding up my proposal for book #8 in the Sebastian series. So I guess maybe I can call it a working vacation?



Anonymous said...

Congrats to both your daughter and you! A great milestone to achieve. Glad your home wasn't once again swallowed by water. My heart goes out to both the South & heartland for all the tragedies there recently. A totally unrelated question - will your Tobie & Jax series ever be made into audio books? My husband wants to read them, but won't actually take a book into his hands (dyslexia). I know he would love them. Sabena

Steve Malley said...

Awww, that's fantastic! :)

paz said...

Woo-hoo to your daughter (and kudos to the you as the Mom who helped her along). Glad to hear you are feeling better about the flooding threat.

But I am very intrigued (actually, close to titillated) about your reference to solving a plot problem while on the beach. Does that mean that the plot takes him/her/them to a beach? Does it mean that you grant Hero's wish to travel (not the Hindu Kush, perhaps, but maybe the Mediterranean?). :-D

cs harris said...

Thanks, Sabena. As for the audio, I just accepted an offer on book #7. The same people also bought the audio rights to #6, but I haven't seen it so I'm not sure they've released it yes (I asked but no one has answered me). It seems strange to start a series with #6, so maybe (hopefully?) they'll pick up the earlier books.

Steve, it was a fun break.

Paz, sorry if I misled! The lightbulb moment must have come from being relaxed and breathing lots of fresh air, because there's nary a beach in sight in #8, which is set in London in September of 1812.

Charles Gramlich said...

Having been forced to go to 24 college graduations in a row, I am not a fan. However, congrats to your daughter. Well done.

Sphinx Ink said...

Congrats to Danielle! I'm proud of her too, after following her life and school career vicariously in the years I've known you. Graduations make me a bit weepy, too. I love those rites of passage.

I'm so glad your bit of vacation blew the cobwebs out and gave you inspiration!

cs harris said...

Charles, I suspect 24 of them would do me in, too.

Sphinxy, thanks. I even got a tan. Sort of.

Elaine said...

Yes! Anything that aids in plotting clearly qualifies as work related;o)

As to graduations and Pomp & Circumstance, they hit me the same way. To you and your daughter: well done and brava!

Carol Jordan said...

Congratulations on getting a kid graduated - you will feel like you got a pay raise!!

Love your books.

cs harris said...

Elaine, thank you.

Carol, she's going to graduate school....

And I'm so glad to hear you like my books! Thank you.

Susan/DC said...

My youngest also graduated from college in May, and while he was not Phi Beta Kappa (although he had the genes, as his father was), we are nonetheless pleased as punch. My heartiest congratulations to your daughter and to you, as the proud mother and best wishes for the brightest of futures.

orannia said...

A belatd congrats to your daughter!

cs harris said...

Susan, congratulations to you and your son! It is a wonderful feeling, isn't it?

Orannia, thank you.

Ginna said...

Congratulations on your daughter's graduation. My oldest just received her masters in Structural Engineering and it was just as proud a moment as her undergrad degree. We have a New Orleans tie as well. My daughter was going to be a Tulane freshman in 2005. As I'm sure you recall there was a 'minor' weather event called Katrina that turned that plan on its ear and rather than settling her into her dorm that weekend we were evacuating the city (thank goodness we had a rental car). Ever since, though she could not return to Tulane (even longer story), we've kept tabs on New Orleans. I'm glad the water threat subsided!

cs harris said...

Ginna, my congratulations to you and your daughter. What an accomplishment! And how awful that you were caught up in the nightmare of August 2005. Hopefully she wasn't one of those whose possessions were locked up in storage for months on end.

Mike said...

Like mother, like daughter -- congrats to both of you!

Is there a C.S. Graham book due out this year? My mother (81 this month) likes them.

Mike (just passing through)

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