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Boat poems-- kind of

I would argue that this is a poem. The words are chosen with great attention to how they sound and feel. There is no sloppy language here. Moby Dick is huge, and he could not get away with it now. It needs to be tightened, no doubt. but the first paragraph is just about perfect. You feel that you can trust Melville and Ishmael. You want to go where they will take you.

And don't we all have times of drizzly November? I do for sure. And I have desperatly wished to knock peoples hats off! Am I the only one who finds Melville funny?

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

Here is a second one. You may know it already. It is a song, actually. And it reminds me of New York, and sunlight on buildings, and ships in the distance, and somehow of all the bravery it takes to go in life from one place to another. And it reminds me of Archie and Horatio. Eveything reminds me of them. But I think Mellville and his Ishmael would have nodded at this with understanding too.

American Tune

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’m all right, I’m all right
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
Oh, but it’s all right, it’s all right
For lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
We’re traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

Oh, we come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hour
And sing an American tune
Oh, it’s all right, it’s all right
It’s all right, it’s all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying to get some rest

© 1973 Words and Music by Paul Simon

They say you should

They say that you should put writing aside and come back to it new as you can. Stephen King says to do that. I find his books of wrtiting advice to be both kind and useful. A lot of other people say the same about putting it in a drawer, not just him.

So when I stalled out with Kit and Tom I made a print notebook of what I had and put it away. I am now back to poking at them, feeling them living inside my mind, speaking up when I am at the grocery store, or in the car. It is a relief. They were silent for a good while. (And oh, I missed them.)

And I had dark doubts. I worried that their world was too alien to me. I am not a churchgoer. And I have never attended an execution. I can write what I like and not worry about being dragged away in my nighties. (That, btw, is what censorship is, ccensorship is not less than that.) I began to think that simple research will not get me where I need to go. Marlowe was a supposed athiest, yes. (But athiesm then was not what it is today, it was a word for a general purpose thought crime. And Marlowe's writing is so masterful it is hard to know what he himself actually thought.) This I do know: chrch attendance was mandatory. He would have had to go, from the first week of life, his attendance was checked against a list. He would have had the Bible in English-- his grandparents would have lived through the changeover.

An alien world to write. So much required, so much forbidden. Chruch required, employment required, hats required, fish days required, (not from religion anymore, but to support Englsish fishing-- clever of Elizabeth.

But I am back to feeling them, so I have to try.

Putting it aside showed me one thing in the first five minutes. I had a screaming inconsistancy where my two guys meet. I had written it two different ways, and it cannot be both. They were not just two points of view, they were totally different events.So I will have to pick.

I spent a while filling in Kit's earlier life. That was fun, but this is the other later stuff with Tom Kyd. I want to squish it into a cohesive whole, rather than a series of small clumps.

Anyway, that is the plan. Quiet here today. Mike is taking his final final exam, phyisics. I expect he will do well enough. He had done nothing but study every free moment for months. I think a lot of the teachers at BMCC feel embarrased to be teaching at a community college, so they are extra fierce. This is wrong in so many ways, and it makes it harder for adult students who are returning to school after ages away. But when hw is done with this he will have the first two years under his belt. He is going to a regular four year school next, for the second half. He has been honor roll for almost the whole time, mostly while working full time too! I am proud of him.

So now we begin summer break-- and more time. I plan on getting him to the beach some. Claire has a zillion plans with her friends. Her dearest closest friend is going to be joining the Army in the fall. I remember what it was like when my friends and I saw the summer ahead as an expanse of possibiliy, days to lounge in the sun. I want them to have that, they are 17, life is coming up fast.

We have started Hazel on daily asprin. It seems to help her feel more spry. She had begun to mind the stairs (four flights of stairs,) especially when it was damp or rainy. Took her no time to work out in her little doggy head that the asprin helps. She does not mind it in a lump of cheese, or butter, or something like meatloaf. Most pills she hides and spits out later. And asprin is bitter, but she takes it happily. One a day seems to make a visible change in her gait. She is 9 this summer, that is getting on for a large dog.

diagram and example

Two more pictures. Here is chapter on splicing, and an example of it on the end of my sea-chest.

Book review and photos

I have a new book!

I just finished the first chapter, and now can speak learnedly about the differences between various kinds of rope. Rope was a big part of my childhood, and I remember my mother using a leather palm like one on the bottom right, to work with her bodkin on leather.

t also talks about different weights of rope, and hemp vs manilla, and linen and cotton rope, which the author disparages. He talks about the way rope is made, threads twisted one way into yarn, yarn twisted the other way into rope. He makes it interesting, although it does not seem so in summery. I can easily imagine Wm Bush reading over my shoulder.The book was written in the 1950s, so he is very excited about the new invention of nylon. That is fun to read.

The next chapter is going to be more difficult, exploring the uses of knots, bends and hitches. I have a lot of trouble keeping these straight. Maybe this will finally get me there.

Also I have included a picture of mike and yodel having a nap. Yodel is wonderful to nap with. He feels as substantial as a person.

This changes everything

I just discovered fondant potatoes. This changes everything. Why did I not know about these before? So easy to make while nattering in the kitchen with other things cooking. They take less work than making fries, and not as dull as mashed. I am quite excited-- I hope you will not all laugh down noses and say how foolish I am not to have known of them. I have made them twice this week, to general acclaim.

It is almost summer here, it happened so abruptly. I did not get much time at all to enjoy the cold mud of March before we were tearing through April, and now all the leaves are out. I wore shorts today. Tonight there may be thunder. I can feel the atmosphere pressing down on my nose, (broke long ago and now good for weather predication.) Hazel has spent much of the day cowering near the door to the bathroom, just in case.

Husband and daughter are coming down to the end with school. Final papers, final exams. So far so good. Both of them are anxious though. Once thing it seems to mean is that even when they are eating or sleeping they feel they should be immersed in study. But nobody can go full speed every minute. Every weekend Mike says the same thing. He looks up, quite suddenly and says 'I am tired. I don't know why. I have to have a nap.' So we go off and nap. (I climb in with him, I am usually up for a nap if there is one to be had.) He may not know why he is tired. I know though. His workdday including school runs from 6 am when he leaves the house, to 10 pm when he gets home. And he is not 17 or even 30. He is 50.

The summer will be easier. He will not have school. I hope we will be able to go swimming as often as last year. Last year we went nearly every day.

Thinking about the potatoes again. Do any of you know why they are called 'fondant?' I was wondering. They have nothing to do with fondant frostting apparently. (Mike hates fondant frosting for some reason. If I make a cake that he suspects of having it he asks if I have made 'fucking fondant again.' So I do not make it often. Anyway, more for me.)

Needs of the Navy

Title Needs of the Navy
Author Eglantine_br
Word Count 1418
Rating G

Once long ago, longer ago than I wish to say, I asked a question. Why did  Mike have  to go to sea the day after we arrived in Norfolk, when we had only moved into our apt at midnight the night before and I knew nobody?  Or later, why did he have to lave for a 6 month cruise when we had a week old baby? My answer-- the needs of the Navy. The Navy has needs.  You cannot argue, there is not any room for wiggling or debate. The Navy is implacable, like a hungry  dog. Horatio and Archie know this.

This is part one of two

Needs of the Navy

Indefatigable at sea

Eight Bells, Midwatch

“Even on Justinian it never rained for three weeks straight.” Archie said.

Read more...Collapse )

May. 2nd, 2015

Hazel has been enjoying a treat this weekend. I have gotten her a cow femur. See below a picture of her knowing just what to do with it.

I am working away on a Horatio and Archie fic. It should be ready in the next day or two unless they decide to do something unusual.


Silly letter S

I saw this on Tumblr and thought of you all. 'Considerable fums...'

When I was a kid we had several books in our house that were old enough to contain the long S. I liked to read them aloud to myself and laugh and laugh. (Ok, I was a weird little person.)

Can you not imagine the men of Edrington's mess deciding to wager considerable fums? I hope he put his money down the right way.


The trouble with marmots

This poor man got plauge from his dog. Pneumonic plauge! He did survive with supportive care and probable applications of holy-shit antibiotics. Nobody here does 23 days in the hospital unless they need every hour of that time. His dog died.

Makes me think about all those pop-sci epidemic books I read as a kid that said 'The ignorant city dwellers of Europe tried to stop the plauge by killing dogs and cats. What fools.' Well. Maybe not. Looks like dogs and cats can both catch and carry it. The thing you should extirpate is marmots. (If G. Khan had killed marmots instead of people it might have been better.)

I missed the week somehow

Internet is back after a week of only my phone.Son has had to reformat the desktop twice in the last month. It will workd fine for a whle, and then just lock up, hard. So he has to wipe it out and start over from nothing. Then it is a question of how much do we dare put back in. It is  6 years old, and was quite full. Now everything has been exported to an external storage drive, and I have a desktop with Firefox and Scirvener, and that is all. No icons, no games. Tomorrow I get Thunderbird back, and that is it. So there is nothing to distract me. I just have to go to the words place, and lift them out and place them onto the page. Easy right?

Somehow again this year, I missed the moment when the air got soft and the leaves and flowers came. People are standing outside looking pasty and startled. There are daffodills. There are free parking spaces with no snow or debris in them. There are kids on bikes, so be careful.

Today in front of my building I heard two  men talking earestly about how one of them has a girl who says he has the inability to commit. "It is like there are peices of me left behind in other relationships," he said. "I have to get them all back before I can give her what she needs." I evesdropped shamelessly as I unloaded my groceries. I am sure that they didn't notice me at all. I am the plump white woman with the brown dog. They know I live nearby. I smile at them, wave sometimes. Sometimes they help me carry heavy things from the car. Funny how we see the same faces and never get the names. These men live nearby. They spend a lot of time at the barbershop under the other half of our building. The barbershop seems to function as a social club for the men on our block. They sit inside, or stand outside and talk and talk, they laugh a lot.

Dreadful gossips you would say, if they were women. Why do we not say it of men? In Marlowe's time a 'gossip' was a family friend. It was a godparent, or the sort of neighbor who was a help. These men are that kind. They are the kind of men who would loan you an extention ladder if you aked.Back then it was more specifically In women the ones who attended the birth of a child. Mrs Marlowe and Mrs Shakespeaare would have depended on their gossips to be there for the birth of those two little guys. And they would have fed and watched small Will and Kit, for the birth of subsequent siblings. Did some older women take the little boys for the day? Was there talk of 'soon you will have a new brother or sister? Was there gingerbread? I hope so. Were the little boiys too young to know that their mother was doing something terribly dangerous? Were they small enough that the dice-roll of childbirth was beyond them. Maybe the first time. Both Will and Kit ended up being the oldest. But both had had older sisters that died in babyhood. (Both were little girls, and both named Mary. The early moderns made do with about 10 names it seems. It must have been confusing with everyone you knew named Tom, John, Anne or Mary. It makes them hard to write about too.)

We have all been busy this week, rushing in all directions. But there has been time to notice the lingering light, the smell of salt in the evening when the wind changes, the birds in the dawn when everyone is asleep but me and Hazel.  Happiness to make the throat ache.

And how are all of you? I have missed you all.