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    Copyright © 2014 unruly

    Dreams of boats / boats of dreams

    So many boats in my dreams, this last while. Boats and boats and then again boats. I like boats, always have (particularly those powered by muscle not motor), maybe as the result of having for a father a man who in his youth was a sailor or maybe as the result of my Piscean nature.

    When I was a kid my dad had a sailboat, a little 19-footer, that was like a gateway drug for me — it was on that boat that I first began to experience the strong, strange, shivered-up feelings of connection and sentipensante I’ve continued to experience all my life, whenever I’ve involved myself in any meaningful way with the green world. Thing is, I was kind of a badass, there on that boat: I invented for myself a method of sailing that involved sitting on the boat’s bow with my  legs dangling over  as she flew along, knifing through lake. And my father — a total badass himself — let me. Let me! If you don’t think that letting was a gift — oh my christ, such a gift — then you should think harder. Much harder.

    My version of sailing was intense and powerful brainmagic — intense and powerful bodymagic too. Moving across the world’s surface in that way was the freest I’d ever felt, maybe the freest I’ll ever feel. It made the world big and small at the same time, endless, but with exciting possibilities of manageability, navigability. It made my body thrum and zing, not with sturm und drang, but with the aliveness of being. It made me feel of a piece with the world to ride up like that, of a piece with the water and the wind and the sky. It was a chance for trance (or something very near it) and a chance for letting go. Epiphany and catharsis, my old chums.

    As a kid, I had a few boat-lit obsessions, too, with Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki Expedition topping the list. I loved that book into dust and had to acquire another copy, so ardently did I read and reread it. I was also hung up on Jerome K. Jerome’s comic novel Three Men in a Boat, written and published in Victorian England, a somewhat oddball fascination for a pubescent girl in 1970s Montreal to have, but it’s such a funny bit of writing and such an excellent counterpoint to the Heyerdahl. I mean, the Heyerdahl is this great roistering saga of crossing the Pacific on a raft and the Jerome is a delightful bit of drollery about a boating holiday on the Thames. Contrapuntal punting. I like. You too?

    And no character in children’s literature was more compelling or more resonant for me than C.S. Lewis’s Reepicheep, the gallant mouse who paddles away to the end of the world in his little currach in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Oh my god, the number of times I salted the pages of that book while reading about those venturings into the unknown. Tears! Goosebumps! He’s still my hero, Reepicheep, and one of the reasons I like to travel in the manner I like to travel — largely unplanned, the antithesis of package- or resort-holidaying, because the joy and terror of not knowing what’s around the next corner is so delicious and skin-prickling, and Reepicheep showed me that, for true.

    Later in life I became pretty consumed by Trawler, Redmond O’Hanlon’s account of  joining the crew of a real-life fishing boat working the notoriously rough North Atlantic. I think I’ve read that book 10 times now and I plan to read it 10 more before I die — hell, maybe 20 — because O’Hanlon is both hilarious and insightful and also I do love to read about people pushing themselves physically and mentally, about how they cope with stress, suffering, privation — how they cope  and manage and find in those moments exhilaration and hilarity and — who knows? — maybe epiphany and catharsis too. There’s plenty of all that stuff in O’Hanlon’s book because it’s about, you know, men on a motherfucking fishing boat in a cruel, brutal, beautiful sea.

    A boat, you say?

    Yes, love, a boat. I am a dame who does love a boat.

    Not many more exhilarating poems to write with your body than the boatpoem of flying across water on the surface of the world. Not many at all.

     



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    Oseberg ship excavation, 1904, Tønsberg, Norway. Via Science Blogs
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    From the Where the Wild Things Ought to Be contest. Via U23D Live
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    jungleboat, embroidery on paper, Sarajo Frieden
    MCDTIBA FE005
    Ian Muir as the Giant, Time Bandits, 1981. Image via Cineplex
    Shipbreaking # 4, Chittagong, Bangladesh 2000
    Shipbreaking # 4, Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2000, Edward Burtynsky
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    Japanese postcard from "Modernizing Propaganda: Avant-Garde Postcards" in Asia Rising: Japanese Postcards of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904–05. Via MIT Visualizing Cultures
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    Boy is a Boat, 2012, Laine Groeneweg. Via akimbo
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    From the Vantage Point: Portholes series, 2009, April Hickox
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    Reepicheep, from C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, drawn by Steve Firchow. Via The Design Inspiration
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    To the World's End, a paper boat made by artist Frank Bolter. Via The Telegraph
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    Boat, 1999, Dale Chihuly
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    Detail, Passage of Spirits, Abraham Anghik Ruben. Via FAMSF's photostream on flickr
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    Aurora, 1981, Cy Twombly. Via Cy Twombly Info
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    Möbius Ship, 2006, Tim Hawkinson. Via Indianapolis Museum of Art
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    Choshi in the Simosa province, from the woodblock print series Chie no umi ("Oceans of Wisdom"), 1833, by Katsushika Hokusai
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    La Chasse-galerie, 1906, Henri Julien. Via Paddlemaking
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    Moby-Dick, page 205 by Matt Kish. Via spuddsixtyfour on Etsy
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    Float Boat, 2007, Dale Chihuly
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    Departure of the Winged Ship, Vladimir Kush
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    Inflating bullock-skin boats for crossing the swift Himalayan River, Sutlej, N. India. Via europeana
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    Me aboard the Squidge, ca. 1970–71
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    Trapped under the Antarctic ice. Via imgur
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    St Clare Rescuing the Shipwrecked, 1455–60, Giovanni di Paolo.
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    Illustration for the Eugene Field poem "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod". Via Litquake on tumblr
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    Cover illustration of the Polish translation of Gulliver's Travels by Zbigniew Rychlicki. Via but does it float
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    Dinosaur Ship, Nicky Engelen. Via Designinspiration.
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    Bom om tuk — the flying boat!, via DarrenWilch's photostream on flickr
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    Iceland Ghost Ship, Nina Papiorek. Via fine art america
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    Paper sculpture by Su Blackwell, 2009. Via The Telegraph
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    La chasse galerie (The Bewtiched Canoe), via mark boucher's photostream on flickr
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    Photograph from the Wolf Tide series by Corey Arnold
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    Boat of dreams, boat of glass by Marri-San on deviantart
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    Photograph from the Fish-Work Europe series by Corey Arnold
    Mis au Jeu in the Mediterranean circa 1984.
    My father at the helm of the Mis au Jeu, somewhere in the Mediterranean, 1984.
    J.M.W.TURNER, Venice by Moonlight, 1840
    Venice by Moonlight, 1840, J.M.W. Turner
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    "An Attack on a Galleon", from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates, 1921
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    From There's No More Room For 2 In This Boat by John F. Leguizamon
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    Photograph from the Fish-Work Europe series by Corey Arnold
    Kon Tiki Raft
    The Kon-Tiki, the balsa wood raft built by Thor Heyerdahl, with which he crossed the Pacific Ocean travelling from Peru to Polynesia, in 1947
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    Boat dress by Jacqueline Bradley. Via Canberra Conteporary Art Space
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    Madam in Boat Hat, Rimi Yang. Via Stricoff Fine Art
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    Photograph from the Fish-Work Europe series by Corey Arnold
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    Max on his boat, from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, first published 1963
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    The cover of Trawler by Redmond O'Hanlon, first published 2005.
    three men in a boat_cover_Cover  Dorrit Dekk
    Cover of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, first published 1889.
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    The light cruiser Puglia "docked" up the mountain at Vittoriale degli italiani, the home of Gabriele d'Annunzio, Gardone Riviera, Lombardy, Italy.
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    Ship of dreams. Via ScenicReflections
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    Illustration from Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain, 1936, by Edward Ardizzone
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    Milky Way, 1989-1990, Peter Doig. Via the Tate
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    Untitled by Carl Kleiner
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    Illustration from The Adventures of Tintin: The Black Island by Hergé.
    2 Comments

    woman, O woman…how flowing and serendipitous, this.

    This very eve I was asking the Prof if he had shared my youthful obsession with the Kon-Tiki..and while he is very much from a nautical themed place, that vessel and its journey had not resonated with him at all. There have been multiple sailors in my life, but I anchored myself to the least salty of dogs.

    And yet…the song that plays as I peruse these magnificent images is one we’ve been dancing to ever since we saw Lovett & his Large Band perform it more than 20 years ago at a marina in San Diego, and we have made all our choices for the future based on making sure the sea will be our backdrop when we finally stop wandering.

    It always comes back to the waters and the waves, for me. Whether I am on them, in them, or simply alongside them…I find possibilities most endless, there.

    shyster added these words on Sep 29 12 at 11:42 am

    Mind-meld synchrony, my dearie O how I love that.

    katy added these words on Sep 29 12 at 12:24 pm



    Digg!