As can be deduced by even the unkeenest of amateur sleuths, I haven’t been writing much of late on these digital pages. I’d love to make the claim that the requisite energies for these (missing) posts have been subsumed by creative progress on other writing projects, but that’s lamentably not the case either. This is not to say that I haven’t dutifully assumed the position, mashing quasi-methodically on the keyboard to wreak visible havoc on theretofore blank pages, but the effort is so half-hearted that even my somewhat prodigious capacity to sip from the cup of recency bias when evaluating my own writing fails to furnish the modest illusion that I’ve done anything but–baboon, howler, and chimpanzee alike–imitate each monkey in the room not churning out Shakespeare on a typewriter.
Now, as history can easily confirm, I normally have no trouble dressing up meandering tripe to my own great amusement, but not so in these recent weeks, nor have I been able to formulate a coherent explanation as to why that might be the case. This morning, however, when stealing a few moments to read from John Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez, I was struck (and not for the first time) by the ebullient nature of his writing in this journal. It is full of romanticisms and ocean-going mythologies, perhaps even slipping–at times–into high camp. I don’t say this critically. Rather I use it as the foundation of the supposition that to record the world in words one needs to be swept up, to feel a titillation, of sorts. Even the most even, dispassionate chronicle–if at all compelling–comes at that matter-of-factness whittled from the lofty swoons of inspired observation rather than by propping up limply apathetic recounting. If you will: a steadily simmering pot has far more relation that wild, unbridled state of boil than to unagitated, unremarkable tepidity.
I haven’t been feeling that ebullience, so I guess it is somewhat predictable that I haven’t been able to translate it to the page. Mind you neither have I been in the throes of a deep depression, I’ve just kind of…been. There’s something very quotidian about my existence here. Daily doings with a dose of minor explorations.
I’m in La Paz, having spent much of the past month tied up to a dock whilst I tinkered away on various repairs. And what might those be? Well, I’m glad you asked. I ended up pulling out my transmission and sending it to a local welder’s shop to repair the cracked housing. I also took advantage of my newfound intimacy with the driveline innerworkings to replace the throttle and shifting cables. I re-plumbed (again) my head and holding tank, and the next day my galley plumbing failed so I refitted that with new pipes as well. I’ve cleaned and polished all the stainless steel on the boat, which was starting to rust/tarnish pretty good after so much salt water exposure. While I work on re-oiling and sealing every inch of existing teak in and out, I’m having a local carpenter install new teak trim in the V-berth as well as repair/replace some exterior teak siding that was damaged in December.
Oh, and I finally put my battery troubles behind me (or so I choose to believe), installing a new house bank and shuffling around whatever existing batteries I had on hand that were still in good shape. Now my house power comes from (4) brand new LTH (top-of-the-line mexican made!) 6-volt deep cycle Golf Cart batteries, wired two-by-two in series and then into parallel sets. It gives me about 450AH @ 12V to pull from, which is a four-fold increase from what I was previously working with.
What more? Dog and I have been exercising with enthusiasm, generally taking shape as a long morning walk at sunrise and a long run through nearby desert canyons towards sunset. Occasionally she runs smack into a cactus as she chases some rabbit or another, but it doesn’t seem to subsequently deter her one single iota so who am I to criticize how she spends her free time?
In other down time I read, trying to balance between a handful of different tomes so as not to exhaust any of them. Currently on the bunk-side shelf: The (aforementioned) Log from the Sea of Cortez by Steinbeck, The Long Way by famed single-handing sailor Bernard Moitessier, a re-reading of Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky, and (somewhat embarrassingly) Dumas’ Les Trois Mousquetairs, the latter intended as daily exercise for my long-suffering french language aspirations.
In a few days I plan on escaping out to the nearby islands for a spell, exploring a few anchorages until the rum barrels run dry (figuratively, of course). After, a turn back in La Paz, then back out to aqueous refuge, and so on–a slow rhythmic ping-ponging between city and sea scape until I work up the frenzied lather needed to cast my fortunes further north into the gulf.