Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Evanston: then and now; TALES OF HEARSAY; 15,000; joy

        The above is a compilation of ship’s positions from 1785 to 1860.  Of particular interest are the horizontal lines near the Equator in the Pacific which were probably ships caught in the doldrums; and the considerable traffic around Cape Horn.
        I thank Kim for the link to the source, The Old Salt Blog, where you can read more and find a short video showing some of the world’s shipping traffic during one week in September of 2012.


        I have on my iPad mini, which has become my E-reader of choice, collections of works of eighteen writers, ranging from Shakespeare to Yeats.  Not all of these are complete collections, but enough, and included is Joseph Conrad.  For $1.99 I got 17 novels, 5 collections of short stories, several novellas, and 5 non-fiction books.  This averages about 7 cents a volume.
        I was slightly surprised to discover that over the years I have already read all of them except for four of the non-fiction works.  Many I’ve read more than once.
        I found ‘The Tale’, included in THE PENGUIN BOOK OF FIRST WORLD WAR STORIES, in STORIES OF HEARSAY, along with “The Warrior’s Soul,” “Prince Roman,” and “The Black Mate.”  And with pleasure read them all again. 


        My recent virus caused me to miss five workouts and my goal of one hundred a year.  I was on track for one hundred and one, but although I resumed working out a week ago, will have to settle for ninety-six.  This comes to 14992 push-ups and crunches this year; so even though this isn’t a work-out day, I just stopped writing and did eight more of each to bring the total to 15,000.  
        Sailing across the Pacific next year, I won’t even come close.

        I am writing this mid-morning in our sunny second bedroom.
        The sun is shining brightly from a cold clear sky on a thin veil of fresh snow that fell overnight.  The temperature is 7°F/-14°C.  Five more inches/12.5 centimeters of snow is due tonight.
        I have enjoyed this year, being back in San Diego, solving the problems of how to live on GANNET and preparing her for sea, being with Carol.
        If you ever venture to other pages on this site, you may have read on the list of quotes used at the front of my books these:

Curtis probably never found out either [why Two Whistles, a Crow chief, had a crow on his head when Curtis photographed him], because after thirty-three years in the field taking photos of the Indians he went crazy and was placed in an asylum.  When they let him go he went down to Old Mexico and looked for gold, with a diffidence in recovery that characterized the behavior of many great men--let’s go to the edge and jump off again.
                                       from DAHLVA by Jim Harrison

(I) am, I believe, following the clear path of my fate.  Always to be pushing out like this, beyond what I know cannot be the limits--what else should a man’s life be?  Especially an old man who has, by a clear stroke of fortune, been violently freed of the comfortable securities that make old men happy to sink into blindness, deafness, the paralysis of all desire, feeling, will.

What else should our lives be but a continual series of beginnings, of painful settings out into the unknown, pushing off from the edges of consciousness into the mystery of what we have not yet become, except in dreams that blow in from out there bearing the fragrance of islands we have not sighted.
                --from AN IMAGINARY LIFE by David Malouf  

        Though I am half-blind and Carol tells me that I do not hear as well as I used to--I suspect that most wives tell their husbands that--I have not been violently freed from comfortable securities, so I'llI free myself.
        I am looking forward to the new year with joy.
        I hope you are, too.