Thursday’s Children March 14, 2013

Inspired by Surfers…

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!

No, not the bronzed demi-gods who frolic under the summer sun.

Maine winter surfers. The wave-junkies clad in thick rubber suits. I see them before, during, and after every winter gale. Out there in the seething gray ocean, with the wind shearing the tops off the whitecaps. In fact, I was watching surfers last Friday at the beach near my house and that’s what got me thinking. Some are young dudes, but many are guys in their 40s and 50s. They live for the thrill. Not even freezing cold water can stop them. And believe me, that water would be frozen – except that moving salt water simply can’t freeze.

Some might call them brave. Others might call them crazy. I think the same adjectives might be applied to writers. We can’t give up the rush either, not even when conditions are, um, gnarly.

I’ve just plunged into writing a new book. It’s exciting and scary. I’m not in the water literally, but I am floundering around in a sea of words. It’s not so much that I’ll be searching for perfect waves – I’ll be trying to create them. Individual words, that when combined, offer speed, amplitude, and a glassy face that is both superficially beautiful and translucent enough to let the light shine through. The waves that will carry my story to its final destination with power and grace.

I’m no longer a “kook” (newbie just starting out) so I know what to expect…

Wipe outs–massive deletions of entire chapters and character eliminations.

Riptides–wayward characters and unanticipated subplots that threaten to carry my story far out to sea, or onto jagged hidden reefs.

Acid drops, when the lovely wave drops out from under me and I’m suddenly free-falling — aka plot holes.

And let’s not forget about undertow — that writerly crisis of confidence–those this whole freaking thing SUCKS moments.

But, I’ll take my chances, for the moments when magic flows through my brain and onto the page, when thought and language form a perfect union, when writing is a transcendent experience.

So, who’s ready to hang ten (fingers on the keyboard) with me?

Here’s a video about winter surfing in Maine. This beach is about half an hour from me.

And here’s one shot at the beach in the town next to mine

taken at Kennebunk Beach

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52 thoughts on “Thursday’s Children March 14, 2013

  1. Trying to keep a comment short when I have ALL THE FEELS over a post is HARD. This one will stay in my head long after it’s hidden in the archives of WordPress. Beautiful.

  2. ‘Individual words, that when combined, offer speed, amplitude, and a glassy face that is both superficially beautiful and translucent enough to let the light shine through.’ I’m having word love – what beautiful imagery. Yes I am now inspired by surfing too!

    • Yes, I’m going for the Mistress of Metaphors title 😉 At least I give my characters nice clean ocean water to play in – not filthy sewer water like “some” people I know, lol.

  3. I love this analogy. Great Lakes surfers are mostly confined to ‘gnarly’ weather as well, before the ice, when ‘the storms of November come early.” I’m told even seasoned ocean surfers who’ve tried it are surprised by the power, speed and shorter span of the waves here.

    Great post, great vids. Here’s a cool vid for you, my music buddy. Remember The Waterboys? I feel like, as wrtiers, we have to leave the relative safety of the river. But then, of course, we “behold the sea.” http://vimeo.com/49308169

    • Wow, from Gordon Lightfoot to The Waterboys (yes, I remember them) all in one quick reply! Great video. I just LOVE the ocean, nothing else in Nature gives me such a thrill, even just hearing the waves at night makes my heart beat faster. Those were some epic wipe-outs though…

    • Wow! I love this song. I’ve never heard of this group. There’s something about the melody that reminds me of another song that I know well, but it eludes me at the moment…the sound and repeat of chords (in the chorus?) and the bom-bom-bom-bom rhythm of them. But I LOVE the metaphor…that was the river and this is the sea. It’s completely inspired me to understand something about my character and the crucial difference between one kind of magic and another. Thanks, Vaughn!

      • Glad you like it, Sevigne! It’s a favorite of mine. I’ve been listening to the Waterboys all day since. (They’re from Scotland. They famously bagged out on their moment of impending fame by not showing up for Tops of the Pops on BBC One in the mid-eighties.)

  4. Another great analogy with writing from you! And love about writing: “And let’s not forget about undertow” scary stuff.
    I grew up in Fla. and know the blonde and beige type. I have friends in the North and in Montauk that actually do that–they jump in the FREEZING water(with wet suits-but come on). Blows my mind.

  5. little incoherent there–still not fully brain-abled, I guess. “Another great analogy about writing from you! aye

  6. What a great analogy! It makes sense to compare the writer’s plunge to a surfer’s courage- especially a Maine winter surfer, good grief they must REALLY love it! Writing can be somewhat of a lonely process (it has been for me) & I loved reading your beautifully written post! It was a reminder that there ARE other writers out there who can relate to that wonderful light-headed feeling that comes with gazing into the “water”, grabbing our “boards” and going for it! Thx for sharing such a lovely post & I bet that new manuscript of yours is going to be well worth the effort : )

    • Aw thanks Bernadette! 72 degrees? We won’t see that for a while-though New England weather is nothing if not unpredictable. I’ve seen 70 degree days in late March and snow in June…

  7. Girl, have I told you that you write one of the best blogs? Your analogies are always interesting, however, we may have to duke it out for Mistress of Metaphor. Unless you want to be Queen…in which case, feel free to wear the crown; I’m happy to wear Ariadne’s diadem and give you the Empress salute.

  8. Intriguing… I’m both inspired, in awe, and staggered. I love spending time by the Maine shoreline, but never knew people surfed there in the winter weather. Next time I take a trip that way I will see if I can check any out.

    And your comparisons… they are spot on.

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