TERRY'S DESK

Shifting Shorelines

Updated: Apr 29



1. In your book Shifting Shorelines, you never name the Florida barrier island where you live. Why?

I purposely never named the island because I wanted readers to imagine themselves on a shoreline and island of their own choosing, someplace that would evoke a feeling of peace and belonging, wherever that might be. I tell the story, in the first chapter of my book, about imagining, over and over, that I lived on an island. At the time, I actually lived in the sandy, land-locked plains of West Texas. I believe my hours of imagination may have influenced the very choices that later led me to this particular barrier island. If anyone wants to know the actual name of the island where I live, there are plenty of clues to follow. I love a little mystery.


2. How did you decide to divide the book into sections that mimic the rise and fall of tides?


Living beside the sea, I’m attuned to the tides; they’re like the inflow and outflow of breath—the very essence of life. At low tide the beach expands, revealing damp, glistening sand. The receding water sometimes strands starfish, conch, and sand dollars. These strandings mirror life’s low tides, the times we feel bereft, alone, and laid bare. But feelings, like the tides, are ever changing. Life is not static; emotions and feelings continually cycle through us. During slack tide, when the push-pull of life lessens, we experience contentment and peace. A feeling of equanimity calms the waters. Flood tide, then, would be the times we are awash and overflowing with gratitude, happiness, and the fullness of being. These tides of emotion shift the shoreline of who we are and, more importantly, who we will become.


3. Who is your audience?


As I wrote, I pictured my audience to be anyone who loves the sea, walks the beach, and throws open their arms to welcome the day or a loved one. Nature and the sea have no preference for age or gender, nor does love, nor does inspiration. In writing Shifting Shorelines, I imagined what I might say to my younger self if I were to meet her along the shoreline. What wisdom could I, having already walked through her days, offer her that might help or ease her angst? Since I am a woman, I naturally refer to myself as she, and my only child is a daughter. I think it most accurate to say this book is meant for anyone born of a woman—and last I checked, that’s a pretty broad audience.