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    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.


    oseberg ship excavation 1904
    Oseberg ship excavation, 1904, Tønsberg, Norway. Via Science Blogs
    where-the-wild-things-ought-to-be-even-more via u23d
    From the Where the Wild Things Ought to Be contest. Via U23D Live
    jungleboat sarajo frieden
    jungleboat, embroidery on paper, Sarajo Frieden
    Ian Muir as the Giant, Time Bandits, 1981. Image via Cineplex
    Shipbreaking # 4, Chittagong, Bangladesh 2000
    Shipbreaking # 4, Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2000, Edward Burtynsky
    japanese postcard via butdoesitfloat
    Japanese postcard from "Modernizing Propaganda: Avant-Garde Postcards" in Asia Rising: Japanese Postcards of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904–05. Via MIT Visualizing Cultures
    Boy is a Boat, 2012, Laine Groeneweg. Via akimbo
    Vantage Point- Portholes, 2009
    From the Vantage Point: Portholes series, 2009, April Hickox
    Reepicheep-08 by steve firchow via thedesigninspiration
    Reepicheep, from C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, drawn by Steve Firchow. Via The Design Inspiration
    bolter boat
    To the World's End, a paper boat made by artist Frank Bolter. Via The Telegraph
    Boat, 1999, Dale Chihuly
    Detail, Passage of Spirits, Abraham Anghik Ruben. Via FAMSF's photostream on flickr
    twombly_aurore_1981 via cytwomblyinfo
    Aurora, 1981, Cy Twombly. Via Cy Twombly Info
    Möbius Ship tim hawkinson 2006 indiana museum of art
    Möbius Ship, 2006, Tim Hawkinson. Via Indianapolis Museum of Art
    Thousand views of ocean, Soshu Choshi 1833
    Choshi in the Simosa province, from the woodblock print series Chie no umi ("Oceans of Wisdom"), 1833, by Katsushika Hokusai
    Ghost Canoe henri julien via paddlemaking
    La Chasse-galerie, 1906, Henri Julien. Via Paddlemaking
    MOBY-DICK, page 205 by matt kish
    Moby-Dick, page 205 by Matt Kish. Via spuddsixtyfour on Etsy
    flaot boat, 2007, chihuly
    Float Boat, 2007, Dale Chihuly
    departure of the winged ship vladimir kush neosurrealism
    Departure of the Winged Ship, Vladimir Kush
    inflating bullock skin boats
    Inflating bullock-skin boats for crossing the swift Himalayan River, Sutlej, N. India. Via europeana
    aboard the squidge
    Me aboard the Squidge, ca. 1970–71
    trapped under the antarctic ice via imgur
    Trapped under the Antarctic ice. Via imgur
    St Clare Rescuing the Shipwrecked - Giovanni di Paolo, 1455
    St Clare Rescuing the Shipwrecked, 1455–60, Giovanni di Paolo.
    wynken, blynken, and nod via litquake
    Illustration for the Eugene Field poem "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod". Via Litquake on tumblr
    zbigniew-rychlicki-gulliver-s-travels via butdoesitfloat
    Cover illustration of the Polish translation of Gulliver's Travels by Zbigniew Rychlicki. Via but does it float
    Nicky Engelen- Dinosaur Ship via designspiration
    Dinosaur Ship, Nicky Engelen. Via Designinspiration.
    bom om tuk cambodian water festival via DarrenWilch on flickr
    Bom om tuk — the flying boat!, via DarrenWilch's photostream on flickr
    Iceland Ghost Ship  I Nina Papiorek
    Iceland Ghost Ship, Nina Papiorek. Via fine art america
    su blackwell paper-boat 2009 via the telegraph
    Paper sculpture by Su Blackwell, 2009. Via The Telegraph
    chasse-galerie by mark boucher on flickr
    La chasse galerie (The Bewtiched Canoe), via mark boucher's photostream on flickr
    wolf tide series 2 by corey arnold
    Photograph from the Wolf Tide series by Corey Arnold
    Boat of dreams, boat of glass by Marri-San on deviantart
    corey arnold fish-work europe 5
    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
    Howard Pyle - An Attack on a Galleon. Illustration of pirates approaching a ship (Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates) (1921)
    "An Attack on a Galleon", from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates, 1921
    Juan F. LeguizamonThere's No More Room For 2 In This Boat behance
    From There's No More Room For 2 In This Boat by John F. Leguizamon
    corey arnold fish-work europe 2
    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
    boat dress by Jacqueline-Bradley
    Boat dress by Jacqueline Bradley. Via Canberra Conteporary Art Space
    madam in boat hat rimi yang via stricoff
    Madam in Boat Hat, Rimi Yang. Via Stricoff Fine Art
    Life in Semporna Sabah, CK NG (Parit Buntar, Perak, Malaysia); Photographed May 2011, Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia. Via Smithsonian.com
    corey arnold fish-work europe 4
    Photograph from the Fish-Work Europe series by Corey Arnold
    Max on his boat, from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, first published 1963
    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.
    The light cruiser Puglia "docked" up the mountain at Vittoriale degli italiani, the home of Gabriele d'Annunzio, Gardone Riviera, Lombardy, Italy.
    ship of dreams
    Ship of dreams. Via ScenicReflections
    little tim and the brave sea captain edward ardizzone 1936
    Illustration from Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain, 1936, by Edward Ardizzone
    Illustration from Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, first published 1955.
    Milky Way, 1989-1990, Peter Doig. Via the Tate
    Sea Nymph by Josh Beckman
    Untitled-28 by carl kleiner
    Untitled by Carl Kleiner
    tintin and the black island
    Illustration from The Adventures of Tintin: The Black Island by Hergé.

    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