For almost 40 years I've toyed with the idea of living a quiet life near a warm body of salt water with little on the schedule for each day other than swimming, writing, napping, and topping the day off by grilling something while sipping a cool drink with an umbrella in it. I am aware that the idea is not original. I am also aware that millions likely share this dream of mine. Fine. I no longer have any desire to spend my life carving out a unique existence for myself. Writing and a beach - that will do it.
Each of the last two summers I've had the good fortune of spending a week on Maui, a place I'd never before visited. We stayed both this year and last at a resort in West Maui called Hololani, which, I'm told, means "Gone to heaven." I took the picture below from our 4th floor lanai. The effect of those visits? The above-noted idea has grown nearly into an obsession that occupies a central place in most of my waking hours. That obsession has had to live side by side with another obsession of mine - the Cold War.
I took my first shot at combining the two themes in the third Nick Temple File, Silent Vector, much of which takes place on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas during the Cuban Missile Crisis. My fourth Nick Temple File, a work in slow progress, puts Nick briefly on Oahu en route to the mainland from a visit to Vietnam. So far (about 30,000 words into the project), in addition to the Oahu scenes, I've managed to get a mention of Maui into the mix. I am, however, contemplating a bigger role for island, although as yet I don't know what that will be. We'll see if I can pull it off.
One of the attractions, as a writer, of setting a scene or more on Maui in 1965 is that I can transport myself, and hopefully the reader, back to a time before the appearance of the large-scale developments that now dominate many of the island's prime spots. Don't get me wrong, it's still a beautiful place with surprisingly few people and with many remarkably unspoiled vistas. But imagining it as it was 50 years ago is almost as intoxicating as imagining myself ending a day of bobbing in the gentle swell of some warm secluded bay by knocking out a chapter or two of my latest Cold War thriller aided by little more than the magic of a Mai Tai and a gentle tropical breeze.