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Cypress Lake, a Florida novel, is filled with colorful references to the locales, the tropical environment, and the rich history of the Sunshine State. At the urging of a friend, Owen Cloud has moved to Sip Lake and has started work at a local hospital. During his first night on the job, as Owen sits alone in the dining room eating his midnight lunch, Tina Rochelle walks in and starts a conversation with him. As Tina speaks, the tropical scene of a painting on the wall behind her seems to pass right into Owen, awakening memories of his family's move from Maryland to Florida many years ago. From that point on, his awareness of life is dramatically enhanced, like someone turned the volume way up on the buzz of Being itself. In addition to this intense, ongoing experience, Owen falls in love. A young man with kinky red hair and a pug nose, Owen has always seen himself as unattractive to women, in spite of assurances by some that "you are not really ugly, just homely." During his summer at Cypress Lake, Owen experiences three aspects of love-passion, friendship, and generosity of heart-personified by three different women. He comes to understand that everyone he meets, or has met, is his teacher, that even the most eccentric characters he encounters have something important to teach him about life. Throughout the story, quotations from music, movies, and literature echo in his mind, blending with his memories and thoughts. When Owen's parents are tragically killed, his appreciation for generosity of heart, in the person of Marianne Miramar, profoundly expands. As Marianne comes to his aid during the wake and funeral, Owen realizes that she has always seen him as much more than "just homely."
their individuality while only changing their forms. For us, Plato’s Forms were a mere aura which, like Miracle Whip Salad Dressing, existed in a lighter and less fattening form than mayonnaise. Forms were like musical airs, which might be filled with a variety of different lyrics. And for those insisting on proof, their only proof was what you might find in 90 proof corn whisky which, to some, might sound corny, but which could also lift you higher than you’ve ever been lifted before. Tina
a one inside a zero, creating a beautiful whirling balance. Only, if the right Juan weren’t joined with the right Sea Rose, then there would be stresses and pains in their symbiosis, like kisses thwarted by halitosis Stepping into the bathtub, he fell under the influence of the shower’s shush. In the airwaves of his mind he heard Ed Ames singing “my cup runneth over with love..,” and remembered that Ames had once played Daniel Boone’s Indian sidekick, Mingo, on TV. But the emotion the song
to the core. Standing up from the bed, he groaned with a dizzy-whirled head. He staggered into the bathroom, peed, showered, shaved with Gillette Foamy, and brushed his teeth with Crest toothpaste. How did Dorothy Hamill do it? How did she perform her spinning camels on the ice and still keep her balance? It was like she created her own calm in the middle of her whirling storm, stillness in the center of her turning point. After dressing, he took a few deep breaths and began to feel a little
out his name in his sleep, and that’s what he was doing when he passed.” Entering the store, Cloud felt chastened, learning that Shelby hadn’t been calling his name. But then, if he hadn’t asked, how else would he have known? Coming into the canned goods aisle, he imagined he was entering the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant. He picked up two cans of spinach--ho, ho, ho--and two or corn. Tammy Papaya and her Sailor Man, were they coming toward him? No, it was only some woman who vaguely looked
shut off the motor and headlights. He found himself sitting in eerie darkness, enveloped in pelting rain. He knew there wasn’t much room here. Thick, leafy brush was pressing against the right side of the car, and the car was listing right. It was impossible to see the canal, but he knew it was down there. He guessed he was only a mile or so south of Sam’s truck stop. Should he wait, get out and walk, or try changing the tire? Headlights came up behind him. A car swished past. There was a lot