AYCOCK BROWN, beloved Outer Banks publicist, photographer, author, and historian, told me how as a young man he used to draw scenes in India ink on seashells and sell them to tourists down on Ocracoke. I asked him if he’d draw one for me. He obliged. I took this photograph of him at Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant in Wanchese around 1980. His office at the Dare County Tourist Bureau was next to mine at The Coastland Times. I loved the paper sign he had taped to the Venetian blinds in his office: “A neat desk is the sign of a sick mind.” That was reassuring. I had nothing to worry about, then. Forty years later, his photo and seashell are on the bookshelf in my study. Most days, my desk is messy. When it starts getting too tidy, I think of Aycock.