From the Hawaiian Office

 In Blog

I have spent the past few weeks on a vacation adventure on Kailua-Kona, Hawaii’s Big Island. In typical go-go-go fashion, my daughter Molly and I have explored many nooks and crannies here, doing everything from snorkeling to hiking to viewing fiery molten hot lava as it collides with the sea. We have slept in an open air bed and breakfast. We have seen ancient ruins. We have driven to the top of the 14,000-foot Mauna Kea and played in the snow there. (Read my series of blogs on to hear more about our explorations!)

Molly and I are staying on a 20-year old coffee farm, filling in for a friend of Molly’s as caretakers. We are high up in the mountains on the Kona side of the island, surrounded by lush foliage from giant banana fronds as big as our bodies to delicate orchids and poinsettia that grow in the wild and not in pots on the windowsill. And, of course, Kona coffee plants are everywhere, on the side of the road and in neat rows on the farms that dot the landscape.

We have been in heaven.

But I have also been working while here in Hawaii. Not a day goes by that I do not check my email and respond to inquiries. I have also compiled Voices of the Valley entries for the Springfield Republican through the end of January.

The major project I am working on here, though, is a novel that I am writing for a client. I began this book about a year ago, and worked on it during a month-long stay in the Marshall Islands last year.

I was hired by my client, who lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts, to tell the story of the span of years he spent working for the airlines, in particular one airline formerly based at Bradley International Airport. My client was what’s called a ramp agent; he cleaned planes, de-iced them in the winter, loaded and unloaded baggage, and in general, made sure things ran smoothly on the tarmac.

The story begins in the late 1980s, back in a time before Anita Hill made sexual harassment a thing and in a place where abuses of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were rampant. The book tells the story of how my client became a defender for innocent airline employees who were being sexually and verbally harassed by three colleagues who also did not have a respect for their roles and responsibilities. My client eventually became a victim, and I’ll say no more than that. I want to entice you to buy the book and not give anything away!

Because I did want to be active on my vacation while also making some good progress on the book, I had a plan for managing my time. I am good at the work-life balance thing—that’s how I manage to work so well from home—and I’m disciplined! So, I wake up early, before the sun rises. I get up even before the roosters start cock-a-doodle-doing, and believe me, they do, beginning about 6 a.m.

It is chilly here in the mornings, and, in the farm shack, the Jalousie windows don’t close, and there is no such thing as heat. So, I grab my laptop from the desk in the living room and climb back in my bed for two or three hours, under layers of blankets, losing myself in my client’s story. When the sun hits the deck, and it’s time to hit the road for another day trip, I wake Molly, and off we go.

I don’t unplug from the book, though. I take my notes and a notepad to the beach with me, and I keep planning how the story will unfold. I have written roughly three chapters here, and I am fully engaged and looking forward to finishing the book in the month of January. That’s a very doable goal. Then, we must begin the editing process and get the book designed. I’ll let you know when it’s available. Hoping for summer 2017!

In the meantime, create your own adventure and work on your work-life balance!

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