I’m a Florida writer. I love my adopted home because, well, what’s not to love? We live in paradise. We wear flip flops year round, drive convertible cars, drink margaritas by the pitcher, and get invaded by pirates once a year (in addition to Yankees, Cardinals, Tigers, Braves, Bears, Seahawks, etc.). Everybody wants to escape cold winters, so we see friends and family (maybe a little too often). And no state income tax. Truly a situation where less is more, hmm?
Right here, lemme tell ya, it’s heaven on earth. We Florida writers capture as much of it as we can. We have the Space Coast, Treasure Coast, Emerald Coast, Miracle Strip and even the Redneck Riviera to showcase. Florida was home to the great Travis McGee, and I like to think he lives here still. One day soon, perhaps I’ll drive over to Cassadaga, the town where residents are mediums, fortune tellers, and spiritual healers to find out.
The Michigan/Florida connection is strong here, too. Why, St. Petersburg was almost named Detroit instead, and would have been if General John C. Williams had won the coin toss. Even the Walloon Lake, Michigan, writer Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in Florida. How much better does writing get? ‘Nuff said.
My non-Florida-loving friends think otherwise. We’re crazy to live here, we’ve been told. After twenty years and researching six novels with loads of Florida atmosphere, I now see our friends have raised some valid objections.
If you’re thinking of relocating, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About The Sunshine State:
We do have the occasional hurricane. But we’ve never had more than four in one year. For the most part, we see ’em coming and we can get out of the way. Not that we all do. But we can. Usually.
True, we’ve got spiders galore, snakes the size of your waist, bugs as big as a baby’s foot, and mosquitos by the ton. Think about how many mosquitos it takes to weigh a ton. That’s right, we’re not allowed to fog the state with DDT. Rarely do three of these species come inside the house at once. (Unless you’re talking about two-legged snakes. I wasn’t.)
Dogs and cats are sometimes attacked by gators. The low-down scaly gators, not the University of Florida alumni. (Although you get those alumni fired up during the football season, and you just never know what they might do.)
Our politics do swing both ways, making it a little dicey to attend neighborhood cocktail parties during voting season. On the other hand, we’re allowed to carry guns and we can stand our ground, so there’s fewer long, exhausting arguments than you might suppose. Besides, most people are pretty fit here, so we run faster.
Sure, there are a bunch of us already living here. Fourth largest population state in the country, behind California, Texas, and New York — in that order. This does make our road system a bit congested, especially when the forty million tourists arrive each year. Yes, many Floridians are past our prime. Yet we’re healthier than oldsters elsewhere. Why, more than 200 people over the age of 100 are still driving cars in our state. Imagine that!
So you can move to Fabulous Florida and experience all we have to offer first hand. Or you can read all about it in books by Florida writers from your easy chair. Ignore the traffic, forget the bug spray, put the puppy in her safe, warm bed by the fire, grab a big glass of Cabernet and enjoy Florida in comfort. Because science has recently proved that reading novels is as good as physical experience for most things, and a lot cheaper, too.
What about other things? Well, for those, reading is even better.
Tell us about your best Florida experience — physical or virtual! Do you have a favorite Florida author?