BOUND FOR ROQUE ISLAND … Sailing Maine and the World is the provocative subtitle of R.J. Rubadeau’s sailing memoir (Bascom Hill Publ., Minneapolis, 2010). Of course, I’m totally biased. Bob is a friend, and a longtime community member. But bias aside, this is a jolly, rollicking good read … Bob knows sailing, loves old wood ships, and has made a precarious and idiosyncratic pact with modernism that includes a back-up Gray Marine engine but excludes many of the high-tech gear most ocean-faring folk consider de rigueur. Best of all he tells a good story. An informed story. With a stand-up’s sense of humor & timing. A poet’s pivotal use of metaphor… He mixes tales of professional cruising with a playful family storyline, funny scenes, nostalgia & a lifetime’s bag of sailing tricks. Some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty … It’s one of those books you hate to put down and love to pick up. Whether he’s relating how teredos sank the Spanish armada, telling Smuttynose murder stories from 1873, savoring an encounter with an otherworldly Rinpoche on a Nepali trail, using a trusty Weems & Plath sextant to plot his position at sea, maneuvering Dog Star into a difficult berth, or citing Bell’s Theorem in explaining a Maine rumor mill, Rubadeau is a fine writer … Highly recommended.
THE ALIBI CLUB … (Bantom, New York, 2006) Francine Matthews came to town as part of Rosemerry Wahtola Tromer’s Walking Words back in 2006. She was a lovely person, and so I bought her novel, mostly because I liked the excerpt she read. I’m not much into mysteries, but this was a zinger, and once caught in the web of her plot, I couldn’t escape. Who would want to? It’s a great read, involves the real-world espionage surrounding the nuclear genii and how its secrets were saved from the Nazis by a series of intriguing and daring episodes, and is packed full of drama and great characters … Highly recommended.
THE WAVE … In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean (Doubleday, New York, 2010) … Growing up, nightmares plagued me many a sleepless night. Especially one recurring one involving what we used to call a “tidal wave” and came to understand was really a tsunami. Since we lived perched at the edge of the Pacific, it was no wonder that water fascinated and made me greatly afraid. I’ve seen big waves. Felt the ground shake hundreds of yards inland. Been afraid of the sea. So, when I asked new Between the Cover owner Daiva what great book she was reading and she conjured up Susan Casey’s The Wave, I had to take a looksee. And I’m glad I did …. It’s a fact-filled, adrenaline-laced odyssey into the world of immense waves of all kinds, far out at sea and overflowing onto the land. Casey’s a good writer. And a good researcher. Big-wave surfing makes up most of the book – she tracks a few big wave legends, maybe a tad too much with what seems to border on idolatry. But in the end you become as big a fan as she. An amazing world. And you learn more about the sea than you could possibly have known. Thank you, Daiva … Highly recommended.
STATE OF THE UNION … I was lucky. I followed my intuition. I watched the president’s historic mid-term assessment and then turned the TV off (I was in Denver at a Super 8 for political reasons, since I don’t own my own TV). Who needs talking heads to screw up what I heard and what I saw with spin? Enough to have watched it in real time. Free of commentary … And I loved what I saw. A leader who fills one with hope, not fear. With dreams, not dangers. Who points us in a direction and suggests how we might get there … Not sure I’m looking to win the future, but let’s hope we can win a place there for our children.
WEEKLY QUOTAS … "In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1 percent of households (the upper class) owned 34.6 percent of all privately held wealth, and the next 19 percent (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5 percent, which means that just 20 percent of the people owned a remarkable 85 percent, leaving only 15 percent of the wealth for the bottom 80 percent (wage and salary workers)." – G. William Domhoff
THE TALKING GOURD
there is indeed a current
beneath the current
which runs through us all
and there are indeed those
who have worked hard
to disguise their scent from others
yet I am still
who would set me free
from old wires
I am the autumn leaf
in February streams
dancing the eddies
finding my way along the river again
I have nothing left to lose
that can be taken
I can only continue to gain
as long as I continue to give away
and one cannot step into the same river twice
for she is never the same river
one moment to the next
as there are infinite sunsets
in one setting of the sun
- Esther Chapman