The following post is one I wrote for a writing prompt for my writer’s group. The prompt was “Describe your city as if it were a person.” It was a fun challenge to transfer the things I love about this small town on the west coast of Florida to a human form. Hope you enjoy it.
The first time I saw Gwendoloena of Gulfport she was dancing, kind of a laid-back whirling dervish. Totally absorbed in the moment, she cared not what anyone thought of her abilities. In fact, she had no real dancing abilities, but what she did have was a capacity to get into the “zone”. She danced her way from one end of the street to the other, dancing to all the different music. When the music changed as she made her lithe way down the street, her movement adjusted slightly. She often faced the water and seemed to somehow draw inspiration from the ebb and flow, from the breezes and the boats lying at anchor in the bay. Sometimes she’d look up and smile. Sometimes someone would join her for a few minutes. Although it was hot, she always seemed cool enough.
She was very creative, not only in her dance that seemed to leave the rest of the world behind, but also in her dress. She loved tie-dye, flowing skirts and dresses. She loved gypsy pants and lacy fringed tops. She loved flip-flops, although she could be seen barefoot at times. A true bohemian, she made the tourists appear boring, and conservative no matter how much they tried to cut loose when they were in town.
She was retired, as were most of the people in this small beachside town. She made a little money on the side by creating THINGS and selling them at the markets the town put on regularly. Whatever she felt at the moment. It might be a watercolor painting, it might be beach glass pendants (using only beach glass that she’d found along the way), or a shadow box.
It was at the market that I first talked to her, and began to get to know her. She was a loving free-spirit, for sure. Liberal, she wanted all people to be happy, to find joy in their lives. Cause and effect, to her, were just an excuse. Money was a necessary evil. She was utterly charming, lacking any enmity for those who disagreed with her, and I think she just felt sorry for them. She once told me she wished people would just stop being so afraid.
She could be seen at all the many festivals, the Tuesday Fresh Market, and the bi-monthly artwalks, dancing, animatedly talking to people, selling her THINGS, or taking a leisurely stroll down Williams Pier where she could be seen calling to the dolphins. There were those in town who swore they would come if she summoned them.
She was lovely, a loose-jointed wisp of a woman, yet sure-footed in her purposeful walk through this small beach town. We all loved Gwendolaena of Gulfport. Like her namesake, the wizard Merlin’s wife, she bewitched us all.