In the first chapter of Deep Wizardry, DOG. Dog? Dog. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
I was lucky enough that the majority of my positive memories as a kid were of the ocean. My dad, born in Hawaii to Japanese immigrants, moved to the mainland after his stint in the Army. After my brother, myself and my younger sister were adopted, we began to take regular trips back to Oahu so that my father could see his family and so that we could meet his. I think we took four trips there between 1989 and 1996, and each time, I spent the week or so of the vacation enamored with the place. The water was so warm and clear there. Once, we saw a turtle crawl up onto the shore on a warm summer morning, the water running of its shell dramatically after each wave crashed over it.
My grandparents lived in the Wilhelmina Rise neighborhood, and Diamond Head loomed not far in the distance. Dad always knew all the best spots to build sand castles or to see fish swimming in massive schools just feet from the shore. He took us to a sushi restaurant not far from where he grew up, and it was the first time my brother and I ever saw koi fish. We were enamored, and my long-running obsession with Hawaii was born on that first trip. Nothing compared to the beauty of those beaches and the exhilarating time spent in the water. When I finally had the means to move far away from Riverside, I could have attended a few schools that offered me a full-ride scholarship.
I chose the one closest to a beach.
I didn’t get to visit Oahu again until my father’s funeral in 2006, and suffice to say that the trip was bittersweet. I returned again in 2012 on my first vacation with my last partner, and that trip was when I truly got to form memories of the place separate from my dad’s death. It also has the distinction of being one of three times in my whole life where I’ve gotten a sunburn. (I just get darker shades of brown 99% of the time.) I spent every single day of that eight-day vacation in the water. You couldn’t keep me out of it. I snorkeled in multiple bays, got up close with a sea turtle, saw an eel from a safe distance, and watched dolphins swim just thirty or forty feet from me at one point.
It hasn’t been so easy to get back to the beach since then, and there aren’t too many places in the US where there are comparable locations. But here’s the story I mentioned in the video that I wanted to tell: last summer, I finally got to go swimming at night. It’s not that I’ve avoided it, necessarily. I admit that I have a rather intense fear of the deep ocean and have thus far never been in a boat or a cruise ship on the ocean. (I will have to face this fear next year, as I’m a guest at WaveCon, the first LGBTQ fiction con AT SEA.) I’m also someone who was raised to be careful in the sea. I know not to swim out of view of the lifeguards (if they’re there); I check tide times before I swim in a certain location; and I was taught, very early on, to never swim in the ocean at night. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S OUT THERE.
So, last year, I traveled a lot. Three major tours, more cons than I can count, and a whole lot of work. But I was determined to take opportunity of my time in Florida for GeekyCon to squeeze in a short, 48-hour trip down to Miami. I’d never been and had heard so many spectacular things about the place that I booked a cheap-as-hell Greyhound ticket from Orlando down to Miami, and rode down there in early August while a thunderstorm kept the skies grim and grey. By the time we got to Miami, though, the sun was blazing. The city looked unlike anywhere I had ever been, and I nearly started crying from excitement as my partner and I crossed Biscayne Bay on the 195. I’m sure it’s sight that means nothing to those who live there, but it was so stunning and clear that day.
We stayed in Miami Beach, further up near 40th, and I practically begged Baize to let me get in the water before we headed to my reading that night. I remember bracing for the inevitable chill that would wash over my feet, and instead, I ended up plunging into the ocean, shocked at how warm it was. That night, the humid air sticking to our skin, we jumped back in the ocean, just after one in the morning. The water itself was somewhere in the 80s in terms of temperature, and we bobbed about, splashing each other under limited moonlight, and it was one of the coolest fucking things I’ve ever done.
I mean, Nita can talk to dogs, and Kit can now beam himself to other locations at will, BUT I SWAM IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AT NIGHT. Which… millions of other people have done. Shush.
I love the ocean. I have a healthy fear of and respect for it, but I love it. I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK AND FIND OUT WHY THE ROCKS ARE UPSET.
Diane Duane is still offering a massive discount on the first 9 books in the Young Wizards series just to this community, so please take advantage of this deal while you still can:
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!