Sip Lake - CraveBooks

Sip Lake

By Joe Basara

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Owen Cloud has been talked into moving to Cypress Lake. "Sip Lake is what the locals call it," his friend says, only he wants Owen to go to work for him, selling real estate. But when Owen demurs, he gets him an orderly job at the local hospital, since "putting butts on bed pans" is more his speed.
On his first night at work, Owen sits alone in the dining room, eating a sloppy joe sandwich, while studying an unfinished painting on the wall before him. Drowsy, a young woman's "hello" startles him. She has just entered the room, but suddenly he finds that the painting has become his My Florida Coloring Book, that he was issued in first grade. Turning its pages, he sees Ponce de Leon searching for the Fountain of Youth, the Barefoot Mailman trudging down the beach, Flagler's railroad on its way to Key West, and many other images. When the young woman sits down across from him, her verbal hello becomes a visible halo that surrounds her. But this doesn't last long, and since he's only recently broken up with a girl in college, he's in no hurry to become involved again.
Still, the attraction is there, but even more importantly, it seems like someone has turned up the volume on the "Buzz of Being." Walking out of the dining room later, outside he hears it raining, pouring, but realizes he's only passed a patient's room where an "old man is snoring." This is only the beginning of his seeing life in a more blended way, that comes to involve people, places, pop music, literary quotations, past events and present ones.
He does admit he has also fallen in love, but is held back by the fact that he is not physically attractive, with kinky red hair and a pug nose with nostrils pointing outward like a second pair of eyes. Like sandpipers gliding back and forth with the rising and receding surf, his confidence swings back and forth between doubt and certainty. Can he win this girl, or any girl? But also, will he ever be able to turn his daily journal into "a great work of literature"? And, aware he is foolish, if he persists in his folly will one day become wise?
Like switching on a light and finding palmetto bugs over the walls and ceilings that quickly scurry away, he continually finds himself being caught in the act of being himself. Thoughts and memories spill over in verbalizations often heard by those around him, causing him embarrassment, making him want to scurry away. And yet these past memories and present experiences combine to lead him out of the shallows toward some greater depth.
In Sip Lake, a first-person narrative, Owen candidly tells you about himself and all the people he encounters--patients, hospital staff, neighbors, friends--during the summer of 1977, and these characters influence him and add to the richness of the tale.



Book Length: 150-320 Pages


Joe Basara