Paddling Forward

Well, this week looks like another busy one.

I’ll send my book proposal to eight more of the agents and publishers I met at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference in July. I will also be submitting a couple more articles to national magazines, this week Mothering Magazine.

I’m also anxious to sit down and write down the story of my scorpion sting in the desert of the Green River several years ago. I wrote a version of it down and sent it to friends and family years ago. I told the story aloud to a cadre of tipsy writers, agents, and publishers at the conference and they went around our circle suggesting where I should publish it. I wasn’t as drunk as they were, so I actually remember where they suggested I submit it. Will do!

This week is also my first week in Christina Katz’ Dream Team accountability group. The group’s sole purpose is to check-in and encourage others in the group to write and publish six to twelve articles between now and December. Goal and support group all-in-one. Ingenious. Definitely the kick in the pants I need to stay focused.

I’m afraid to utter it aloud, but I think there is less than a month before the boys head back to school. Where did the summer go?

I am hosting book club at my house this Friday. We read The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet. It is considered a Canadian classic, published in the mid-60’s, about a widow who spends fifteen summers in the 30’s and 40’s on a 24-foot boat with five children, poking around the inside passage of British Columbia. I really enjoyed the book, full of anecdotes about the Native American tribes of the area, the wildlife (grizzlies, whales, and goats, oh my!), and her family’s interactions with the rather eccentric settlers of this remote region. But I agree with one fellow book-clubber (yeh! Katrina) who said that she wanted more of the internal thoughts and feelings of the mother/author. It seems that this point is one major difference between modern memoir and those written more than fifty years ago. The social reserve of earlier generations comes through in the writing style. Her descriptions are factual and rich, but we struggle to sense her true feelings. For example, her youngest son, at the age of five, falls from a second story cabin balcony. His head will only turn to one side, he is vomiting blood, feverish, and in shock. She must battle a 2-day storm and travel to two ports where the doctor is not at home before she is able to locate medical assistance for her son. In the whole chapter, there is little description of her own psyche, only at the end she writes, “Well…! We were not used to those kind of troubles. If we had more of them, I suppose, I wouldn’t’ have been so upset.” The reader is left to fill in what the author must have been feeling inside. My fellow mothers can imagine: sheer terror!

I recommend this book for anyone interested in navigating the Pacific Northwest Coast and to any mother who has considered summer adventuring with the kids when dad cannot attend.

I’ll round out the week with an overnight kayak trip to tiny Posey Island with some fellow kayakers and writers. Posey is a short paddle from Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. I’ll be kayaking from the Friday Harbor Ferry with my buddy and step-son while dad spends quality time with the boys. I’m hoping the weather will spoil me. I haven’t been kayaking in a good long time, but luckily it’s a bit like riding a bike. Luckily, last week’s camping has me in the rustic mood.

Write your heart out this week! I will.

Lorraine Wilde

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