Friday, April 25, 2008

Flotsam Jetsam

If I were pressed to say what one activity I find most relaxing, it would be beach combing. Living in the Midwest, I don't often get the opportunity anymore, but when I lived in the Cayman Islands, it was one of my favorite pastimes. It's totally addicting! I would walk the beach with a friend or my dog and my eyes would be constantly scanning the sand for a glint of sea glass, a sea bean from Africa or some other flotsam. I found bottles, pieces of roof tiles used only in Europe, driftwood in unusual shapes and sea glass of all colors including cobalt blue and lavender. Hearing a tropical storm whip the palm trees and pound rain on my windows only excited me because I knew that the next day, the beach would be littered with all kinds of new treasures. And each beach had its own specialty. Old Man Bay on the north side held Caymanite and rare shells, while the eastern shores were where the magnificent finds from afar washed ashore. It was on these stretches of sand that the idea of flotsam and jetsam first penetrated my brain.

Some very astute observers may have noticed the “Flotsam Jetsam” tag on some of my entries. Normally the terms flotsam and jetsam have somewhat negative connotations, a sense that they are debris and detritus left from a storm or shipwreck. But I witnessed that after the storm or the wreck, all kinds of treasures can be found and this is what led to my Flotsam Jetsam Journal.

Believe it or not, as much as I like to write, I have never been one for journals. I have friends who have diaries, prayer journals, gratitude journals and don't get me started on scrapbooks! I have a Flotsam Jetsam Journal. I turned thirty right after going through a pretty crazy eight years that stripped me down to the very core (I'll perhaps share that story some other time.) As I reflected on my life and legacy at that critical juncture of turning thirty, getting married and being a new mom, I happened to read a book by Frances Mayes called Swan. It's a pretty good book, not totally earth-shattering, a mystery novel written by a talented writer no more, no less. One of the main characters, however, kept random journals that were later found by her kids and it sparked my imagination. Here's a part of what I wrote as my first entry:

“I turned 30 two days ago and for a while now have been obsessed with leaving a legacy. Of course the greatest legacy I could ever leave is the one I myself was given which is a knowledge of and relationship with Christ. That is my greatest hope and prayer for my dear Bean and any others yet to come. . . [little did I know!]

This, however, is a legacy of a more mundane sort. I love to collect quotes, clippings, odds & ends, bits & pieces, ideas and “jottings.” For a while these have been collecting in “paper boxes” in grade school, file folders, binders, flotsam & jetsam in drawers, purse bottoms, pockets and crummy notebooks. So this journal is a new attempt at “organizing” all the clutter into a single place. The idea is not to be too organized, though . . .” And so was born the Flotsam Jetsam Journal.

So the entries tagged "Flotsam Jetsam" are just my way of marking the miscellaneous ideas that have come from this source, and in doing so, I guess this blog is an extension of the FJJ and a way of sharing some of the little trinkets I find after the storms on the beaches of life.


Jackie Kurtz said...


I am loving your blog. I had forgotten what a wonderful writer you are! You are making me think about your deep thoughts, which is always better than doing laundry!

TropicGirl said...

"I guess this blog is an extension of the FJJ and a way of sharing some of the little trinkets I find after the storms on the beaches of life." Beautiful. Just swallowed the sentimental lump in my throat. Love you!