For the next ten days, I'm off sailing the briny blue waters of Southern California. For me, the sea is associated with a number of writing milestones and while I'm gone I hope to finally finally finally finish the draft of my next novel. Since I may not always be in Internet range, I'm leaving you with a few pictures of where I'm going, where I've been and a few sailing friends I've met along the way.
Avalon, Santa Catalina Island: This is where I finished the rough draft of my first novel False Profits and where one April day I got caught in the worst storm in my 18 years of sailing. There haven't been many adventures that left me wondering about survival. That was one of them. I have never written about the experience but one day I will.
“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning” —Anon
Cherry Cove, Santa Catalina Island: I've spent many happy days bobbing on a mooring, reading books, contemplating life and writing. Just a short way up the coast at Isthmus Cove is where I got the call from my agent that Mysterious Press had bought my first book.
Cat Harbor, Santa Catalina Island: It's officially named Catalina Harbor but nobody calls it that. Rustic and beautiful. This was taken on a calm day but it is the only safe harbor in the area when the Santa Ana winds blow.
"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge." —Raymond Chandler, Red Winds
Santa Barbara Channel, CA: Your intrepid Naked Author in her foulies,
navigating through strong winds and rough seas.
"I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over." —John Masefield, Sea Fever
Channel Islands, CA: "Call me Ishmael."
Block Island Channel, Rhode Island: Flying the spinnaker while
crewing on a friend's sloop from Connecticut to Block Island.
"O'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea,Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free,Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam,Survey our empire, and behold our home!" —Lord Byron, Corsair
Block Island, Rhode Island: S/V Aurora anchored in the harbor.
"One ship sails east and another sails west
With the self-same winds that blow.
Tis the set of the sail and not the gale
Which determines the way they go.
As the winds of the sea are the ways of fate
As we voyage along through life,
Tis the act of the soul that determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife."
—Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Block Island, Rhode Island: Looking for that which every sailor yearns.
The after-sail PAR-TEE with friends!