On Surfing: A Guest Post by Holly Peterson
Many people don’t know that I surf. Or that I started when I was 42 years old. It’s a pretty crazy story that is very much linked to my writing this book. I have to go back and tell you in my thirties, like so many women, I was charging ahead at full speed and had very little time to reflect. Now I understand that was intentional. Three kids, a horrible Manhattan renovation, a job working for a very demanding magazine, and a beautiful sister-in-law who was dying of breast cancer. All at once. I had no time to breathe let alone manage the sadness of Meredith being ill.
Instead, I rushed full speed ahead to just tap dance as best I could. That August when Meredith was really dying and there was no denying it anymore, I got into the Atlantic Ocean on a clear day in Long Island, paddled out for a surf lesson, got pushed into a wave, and actually stood up on my first try. It was just exhilarating. I did it again, and again, and again. And then I started going in every morning and afternoon to feel that rush…always with an instructor pushing me into waves which is fully cheating on a major level…but the point is I was standing on the board for maybe a dozen waves an hour and I didn’t care how I got in them, just that I was doing it.
I started to realize it wasn’t the surfing so much as the slowing down to reflect. It was also the saltwater. I believe saltwater heals. I also think since we all came from water, that there’s something “amniotic” about floating around in water…yes, it feels like the womb somehow and we get very elemental out there in those waves. Surfers are so nuts about their time in the water and I think it's some kind of magic nirvana out there we feel that is linked maybe 40% to the sport and 60% to the craving for the sloshing of the ocean around us.
In the water that summer, I started coming to terms with some very important things in my life. How I needed to be on my own, how my marriage, while a great partnership, was not fulfilling either of us, how terrified I was of taking a leap out of it…all those fears and tears I put into a novel called, THE IDEA OF HIM. It’s out this week and the protagonist Allie is facing a tough marriage, a possible divorce, a soul mate from her past who haunts her and a new sexy guy who taunts her…most of all, she’s dealing with trying to find happiness for herself.
Like so many women, Allie’s trying hard to make things work well for her family, but the stumbling blocks are just huge. Her swirl of emotions, her escape from her past, her fears of being on her own…are not “mine” per se…but I know I created a relatable, likeable character in Allie that so many women out there will feel for and relate to and laugh and cry with…and root for and she finds strength to make some better choices for herself. I hope everyone takes some time to reflect through sports or hobbies that they feel passionate about.
Holly, I sometimes kid around and say that I want to be a blond surfer in my next life--it sounds so appealing! Whenever I spend time in the ocean, (which is not very often, even though I live in CA), I don't want to get out of the water, because it feels so incredible and natural to me (as it did when I was child). Thank you for this guest post, and best of luck with your new book!
Thanks to Teddy from Premier Virtual Authors Book Tours for including me on the tour for Holly Peterson's new novel, and to both Teddy and the author for offering a giveaway for one copy of The Idea of Him (U.S./Canada only).
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Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, April 21. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, April 22. Please visit the other stops on this book tour for The Idea of Him for reviews and other features. Thanks for reading!