They cover the waterfront; Publishing: Boating couple don't just sail; they visit restaurants near harbors and write books about them.
Charles and Susan Eanes entered their second life under sail, heading south from Richmond, Va., to the Leeward Islands. Home and office became a 52-foot ketch, where they have spent much of the past four years carving out a niche in the book-publishing business. They sail, visit restaurants and write about them.
Last month, they were docked at the Inner Harbor East Marina, preparing for book-promoting appearances at the Baltimore Book Festival and the Fells Point Festival.
This weekend and next, they'll be promoting the books at the boat shows in Annapolis.
In four years, they have stopped at hundreds of harbors, eaten at hundreds of restaurants and self-published four slim paperback books. Their cookbook and guide to restaurants around the Chesapeake Bay was published in late May, following guides on the Leewards, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Although they set out to escape the workaday world, they didn't want to just sail around, says Susan. They wanted to do something. After eating at a few bad restaurants in the Caribbean and finding a scarcity of information on restaurants close to harbors, they decided to try writing a restaurant guide.
"I think we filled a void for a lot of visitors to the islands," says Charles, who is 69.
Neither he nor his wife had ever had a book published. In his previous life, Charles made industrial and documentary films. Before that, he wrote for newspapers and magazines and worked as news director for a Richmond television station. Susan, 41, worked in the marketing department of an insurance company.
By his account, Charles had been "hibernating" on his small Richmond farm for years after his first wife died of cancer. After visiting Annapolis in 1983, he decided to sell the farm and buy the boat. Four years later, he met Susan while making a film about her insurance company. They went sailing, she took to it immediately. Three months later, they were married.
They embarked on their new life in 1992, after chartering a sailboat in the Caribbean. Life could be like this, they thought.
"I think you get to a crossroads in your life," says Susan. "Not where you're unhappy with what you're doing, but you think there's something better you could be doing."
The Chesapeake Bay book includes reviews and recipes from 100 restaurants in Maryland and Virginia. Restaurants do not pay to be included in the books, but they do agree to buy copies and sell them. Restaurants included in their books either must be within walking distance of a harbor or willing to provide shuttle service for boaters.
The couple plans to spend the winter in Richmond. After that, who knows? Maybe a book on the New England coast. Maybe the Mediterranean. So much water, so little time.
"Charles and I just decided, 'Let's do it while we're healthy and fun-loving,' " says Susan. It may seem an odd combination: writing poetry and working in transportation. OK, it is a little odd, but Minnie I. Carter pulls it off.
The equal-opportunity officer for the Mass Transit Administration is also a poet who writes about her family and political types, and even salutes a local transportation administrator.
Carter has written poetry since the age of 12. She remembers her mother reading poems by Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar.
"And in those days, in elementary school, poetry was a big part of the classroom," says Carter, who felt so strongly about her words that she has self-published her own book of poems, called "Portraits in Black & White."
"People encouraged me to publish several of the poems, and I decided to go ahead and do it and pay for it myself," says the 48-year-old Carter.
"I have written a poem for Ron Brown, for my mother and for my pastor, Rev. Harold A. Carter," she says. Each of the poems is a portrait of someone she considers inspirational. Among the subjects: former Congressman Parren J. Mitchell, South African President Nelson Mandela, her children and Motor Vehicles Administration administrator Ronald L. Freeland.
The poem for Mandela reads, in part:
On that Great Day
That he reached the end of the road
The multitude gathered and
Let out such a roar
This momentous occasion
Was one never witnessed before."
Among Carter's favorite poems "are ones I wrote about Mayor Schmoke (titled 'Let's Hear It for the Mayor!') and about family members," she says.
Carter feels the book can be a good tool for students. "I did rTC some research on the people I wrote about, so they will learn some things," she says. She describes it as "easy reading": "Someone could have it with them if they are traveling on the Metro," says Carter, who should know.
The book, out for just a few weeks, can be obtained through Carter at P.O. Box 68371, Baltimore, Md. 21215. It can also be found at Expressions, 222 N. Paca St.
Carter sees a growing audience for poetry these days, and thinks she knows why. "We can thank Maya Angelou," she says, "for making people recognize poetry."