ALONG THE BEACH
He knows this is not the end. [For he has just picked up the synopsis. He adjusts his pince-nez, downs two Valiums, and begins reading.]
Deep inside an unexplored stretch of jungle in Borneo, nature photographer LEE MERRICK is in over his head. Attacked by a swarm of bees closing in for the kill, he’s left with only one chance: run like hell and dive for the nearest body of water. [Ah, so he's literally in over his head.] Lee still isn’t safe. The river carries him swiftly to the edge of a waterfall. [This is sounding suspiciously like the plot of a Yogi Bear cartoon I once saw.] Before plunging over the edge, he experiences a vision of a half-seen lady in glowing white. [Except Yogi experiences a vision of a picnic basket.]
Lee recalls seeing the same woman a decade before in a series of mysterious dreams the summer of his final year in college. [Is he recalling this as he plummets to his death?] Now, as a photojournalist for Beachways magazine, the thirty year old Lee travels to exotic shorelines around the world, where he encounters further paranormal hints of the Lady in White as she visits the innermost reaches of his mind. In visions and dreams, she tells him that, above all, she is not an illusion. But nobody else sees her, and Lee can’t prove he’s not just imagining a perfect mate to fulfill the prophecy given in his teens that, one day, he would meet “Her” along a beach.
Now he’s not sure what to think. Yet her ethereal hands caress his at the piano to play a Chopin prelude he never knew. Something he can no longer dismiss begins to haunt him. [Begins to haunt him? I thought this started back when he was in college.] ["Yet" isn't the right word. Try something like: When her ethereal hands caress his at the piano to play a Chopin prelude he never knew, he can no longer dismiss his visions as hallucinations.] [Then again, maybe he hallucinated playing the Chopin prelude.]
The enigma deepens with each apparition of her along the beaches of the world.
As she raises her hand, he is bedazzled by moonbeams illuminating her ring of a silvery bird, which he later also crafts for himself. But nothing prepares him for the astral embrace of their two spirits upon the lunar Sea of Serenity, with their innermost thoughts laid bare to one another in a union more intimate than he’d ever imagined possible. [Has schizophrenia been considered? I'm not talking about the character; I'm talking about the author.]
Unable to find full-time work after losing his job and its access to further mystical places where he’d hoped to further connect with her, Lee’s despair sinks to the lowest elements of the material plane— settling for quick physical gratification in momentary pleasures of the flesh from all the wrong places in town and its seedier women. [Finally something mystical and profound is actually happening.] In the process, he eventually loses all contact with her. After two lost years, he replenishes his faith to resume his search for her—only to be confronted by disbelieving relatives. Leading the pack is his mother, who harbors the dark secret of receiving a prophecy that her beloved husband will suffer a fatal disease far too young. She refuses to accept this fate, and therefore that the future may be foretold. This newfound denial rules her unconscious compulsion to disavow her own past mystical training and never to allow the prophecy Lee received from that same prophet to be fulfilled—to the point of threatening to commit him to the psychiatric ward his own father runs. [My 30-year-old son believes the same crap I did when I was his age. Lock him up in a padded cell.] But it’s too late for them: Lee no longer needs to seek validation from parents and peers, having learned to focus on self-validation in seeking to find himself—and her. His faith is further bolstered as he researches the possibility of soulmates at the London Library. On a sojourn to Merlin’s Cave in Tintagel, Lee hears for the first time the angelic voice of his silent visions, entrancing him more deeply into uncovering the mystery of her being. Their spiritual encounters intersect with life-threatening scenes, from his near-drowning, to being held hostage by armed gunmen at a bank robbery, where each time her words guide him to safety. ["Get outta the water, idiot!" "Get the fuck outta the bank!"]
Through it all, Lee is faced with his greatest challenge: overcoming the remnants of any doubts that along with the reality of her spirit, there breathes the body of a real woman—and that he will never be complete until he finds her—his other half. Repeatedly challenged with physical, emotional and spiritual survival in the face of hostile circumstances, he gains the sense that his inner growth, mirrored by his outer struggles, is the true key to his life’s quest. [Now if he could only figure out what that means...]
After a decade-long journey forging his soul, Lee is, at last, sure that she is real. [I thought he was the one person who did believe she was real.] As their paths converge, he looks up to see a woman wearing the same seagull ring he’d seen in his visions worn by her—now physically standing before him, along his very own beach, [He has his own beach? He shoulda been hanging out there the whole time.] uniting his outer and inner realities to make him whole. [I know this is not the end.]
I guess if the book is mainly metaphysical, spiritual mumbo jumbo, there's no point in completely hiding this fact. But you might want to give us more of the concrete things that happen and less of the New Age mysticism, just so we'll know there's a story with a beginning, middle and end. Does Lee realize how he can find the woman and put his plan in motion, or does he just go to beach after beach until suddenly there she is?
Do they live happily ever after? If he spends the whole book looking for her, I want to know what happens when he finds her. Surely just finding her isn't enough. Who is she?