Books, Velkommen

Wild

0 Comments 27 January 2013

Click image to see flyleaf.

Cheryl Strayed.  Never heard of her.  But WILD came my way and her writing blew me acrosss the room with its power, beauty and honesty.  I don’t think I’ve read a book of this quality since Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird.  (I’m glad I didn’t let Oprah’s Book Club recommendation put me off.)

When I began, if I had known what was between the covers, I would have held on more tightly.  Cheryl wastes no time.  Chapter one:  ‘Ten Thousand Things’ is written with surgical precision. The throbbing intensity grows with each page until it must be fed.  It must be bled for.  Sobbed for until gasps replace breathing, until unconciousness provides a drop of relief. There is power in pain. The words vibrate with accuracy.  Each one perfectly chosen for one particular place on the page.  Doubtless she is her own editor, tirelessly playing each refrain until it is without flaw.  The mechanics are perfect.  Every word fits, every phrase passes smoothly to the next, every page builds the story, the book, the journey. But….wait until you get caught up in the content.

Not many years ago, Chery’s mother died.  Cheryl’s inner void filled with despair and it grew.  Getting off track took time and getting back on track would be no different.  The first few chapters set the stage. The remaining chapters journey along the Pacific Crest Trail telling a bittersweet personal story, unusually raw, always focused.  Hiking toward a better place:  Oregon.   The Columbia River.  The Bridge of the Gods.

 

WILD must be your next read.  It is Steak Tartare for the reader, Caviar for the soul.

Not particularly maritime related, but a salty journey, nonetheless. And as Melville wrote in Moby Dick: “Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete”.

A little taste by way of a few vids. Now what is she going to do for an encore?
Vid-1 Vid-2 Vid-3 Vid-4

Alaska, Books, Velkommen

Walking Home

0 Comments 15 January 2013

Walking Home is required reading for boaters, hikers and all those tuned toward wilderness adventure and the solitary introspection it provides.  Lynn Schooler’s writing is delicious.

It’s the spring of 2007.  Small changes are growing too large to ignore.  The mirror reflects youth and vigor, while the newspaper photo shows age advancing with wrinkles and gray.  An overarching force is moving.  It demands recognition, but doesn’t say when. Some things on the forever list need to happen now or not at all.

Begin and end at Lituya Bay. Hike around Mount Fairweather. Physically challenging and mentally focusing. The individual requires companions to mirror thoughts; to sharpen and steel the mind, lest it run amuck and race toward the void. After long miles, the companions are Beauty and Pain. They spar as they search for a grand design.  Two deaths repeat the duality of Beauty and Pain.  Markers beside the trail:  a close friend and a marriage.

Lituya Bay is a place I dream of visiting.  My time for aggressive hiking is gone, but magical places will always exert their pull.  And Lituya Bay must have BIG Magic.  Mout Fairweather, perhaps more.  An incredible place for an adventure, a journey into history, into nature and into the soul.  They are as different as they are the same.  Just read the book. You can thank me later.

Video 1Video 2Video 3

Click the front cover to see the back.

San Juan Islands, Velkommen

CGAUX Drysuit Exercise

0 Comments 14 January 2013

On Saturday, Jan.12, 2013 I participated in a Flotilla 17 (Coast Guard Auxillary) Drysuit exercise at Campbell Lake.  The temperature, for coastal Western Washington, was chilly:  25º F.  Water temperature, perhaps:  40º F.  My suit worked well, although the zipper needs some lube.  Wool gloves, when wet, are almost worthless.  I wish I had brought my neoprene scuba gloves.  The sun shined on us, geese flew overhead honking at us and a single-engine plane gave us a close inspection.  It was a good time.  Afterward, breakfast at the Bowling Alley in Anacortes was manditory.  The french toast was delicious!  BIG Fun and…..not your usual Saturday morning.

Books, Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, Velkommen

Dynamite Stories

0 Comments 08 January 2013

Now here’s a cute little story.  Well, almost.  It’s disjointed, no one put the pieces together.  The editor must have been fishing.  Judith Williams writes well and the setting is perfect.  Post WWII Refuge Cove on West Redonda Island.  The solar plexus of Desolation Sound.  A handful of hearty independent thinkers willing to claw at the edges of an island to build a home and a life.  They are independent, perhaps-eccentric, out-of-the-mainstream types; that provides a palette of vibrant colors with which to paint a narrative  on a gray granite surface.

What common thread binds the story together?  The use of Dynamite.  Do I see raised eywbrows?  If you are going to carve out a life on a rock what else would you use to level a bit of the playing field?  Character development is begun early with interesting vignettes of the Refuge Cove residents.  The reader starts to feel a sense of community and continuity.  Toss in a few pages about the history of dynamite and the Nobel Peace Prize.  Then bounce back to the Ripple Rock explosion, not Refuge Cove, but it is Desolation Sound.  By now the character development is fading and the reader starts feeling bounced around.  Well, if disjointed is king, let’s run to the Fraser River and Hell’s Gate Canyon then Chatterbox Falls.  Now it’s time to get back on Redonda Island for more character development.  Characters must be scarce so toss in a dead cougar and a dead bear.  Still searching for a conclusion let’s see if Bute Wax and gold prospecting can tidy up the ending.  An interesting read. Make Judith do a rewrite and fire Terry Glavin the editor.  It will never be a prizewinner, but Dynamite Stories deserved to be better.

Click the front cover to see the back.

San Juan Islands, Velkommen

Foggy Wake

0 Comments 02 January 2013

Well, I just felt like playin’ around with Photoshop today.  The pic is from an early morning fishing expedition that began with plenty of fog and a bit of sun.  Of course, I massaged the image just a wee bit.  Photoshop can be great fun and relaxing, too.

Enlarge the image with a click.

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