Alabama doesn’t claim a whole lot of real estate on the Gulf of Mexico. A cutout at the bottom of the state separates Mississippi and the Florida panhandle. That’s where you’ll find Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Those two towns have miles of beaches, beaches that literally sparkle and sand that squeaks.
The beaches are what draw tourists, and rightfully so. The Gulf of Mexico is the allure for people wanting to frolic in the sun and water.
It also calls creatives, who want to breathe deep and connect synapses in a whole new way.
I sat on a balcony and listened to the original white noise. The Gulf of Mexico came in, came out, in, and out, a rhythmic dance. Seagulls floated at eye level, then dipped down to the curling water to catch their breakfast. The sun poked above the horizon, orange, coloring the world.
When a day starts like that, how could I not feel creative? I wanted to write it all down, somehow try to capture the fleeting and quickly changing scene. The thing about sunrises and shorelines is that they are never, ever static, and they are never the same. You can look at the same spot at the same time every single day and it will always be new.
That’s true with anything, though, when you think about it. Every single moment is different. Writers capture, snare, a moment in the hopes that it can be preserved and displayed so that someone else can experience it, too.
It’s been awhile since I sat on that balcony. I’ve thought often about what to write. How to tell the story. Do I list the things to do in Gulf Shores Alabama? The places to eat? Do I create a basic destination guide of do this and eat that?
Normally, I’d say yes. That’s exactly what I would write. That is my job, after all. But my job is also to understand the impact a place can have on a soul.
My story, when it comes to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, is different. It’s not an experience anyone is likely to replicate. But you don’t have to go there while you’re undergoing chemotherapy treatments, with shingles on your face, during a global pandemic, to teach a writer’s workshop.
You don’t need any of that drama. You can go simply because you want a change of pace with a delightful view, delicious food, outdoor adventures, and an armadillo.