Books

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Running Woodchuck

As was I, he was speeding, he as if his life depended on it, I knowing
that the life I wanted depended on it.
I could have outrun him, could have, had I wished,
ended his plump, brown existence.
He may not have known that, only sensed that
this gaunt figure approaching on the macadam
could do him no good and maybe harm
and it wasn't worth debating. Just get the hell
across the lawn and under the nearby front porch.
Built low to the ground, he extended his form, his black nose
stretching, impossibly elastic, his front paws extended, rear up in the air,
belly just above the mown green blades,
frozen in space the instant I saw him
and then, in the shadows, he disappeared, not this time extinguished,
and my pace unbroken I ran on, breathing in on four strides, out on two,
my own gaunt pursuer days, months, years ahead and I running toward,
not away.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Yesterday, three newspapers -- the Providence Journal, New London Day and Richmond Times-Dispatch -- ran reviews and/ or stories about Rescue of the Bounty, all completely favorable. One could easily get puffed up by that much attention, if one were not already a fine example of puffed-uppery. Bringing me back to earth is the rejection I got Friday from the Washington Post Style Section, where the editor, Eva Rodriguez, was initially enthusiastic but, in the end, had to say that the "resources" were not available at that lofty citadel of strong journalism to do the story I had suggested. The Post non-fiction book review editor had already said thanks but no thanks. So we push on, seeking the key to open the main gate of best-sellerdom.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The New York Post ran an "adaptation" , which was a summary of Rescue of the Bounty, this past sunday. You can read it here http://nypost.com/2014/03/29/the-tragic-rescue-of-a-movie-ship-caught-in-hurricane-sandy/.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In those last days, when the lump of plaque, dislodged from elsewhere, has snagged the inside of the carotid, leaving me with but infrequent bursts of lucidity, I would arrange now if I could to have this memory rise from time to time. There is much connected to it. Monica and I had, a week or so before, successfully completed the race back from Bermuda to Newport, RI. It was a fantastic voyage, with everything we could have wanted -- dead calms, rough storms, incredible sunsets and sunrises. She had to return to her desk, her job. But my job was aboard Robin, and so I headed for Maine for two weeks. The day before I would point Robin down Penobscot Bay, I sailed from Castine on a westerly course to Belfast. At first, there was no wind. Then I passed north of Islesboro and a whisper of air began playing with the raised mainsail. In a short time, Robin was sailing on a beam reach, her autopilot steering, her rig perfectly balanced. I was a passenger, bathing in the afternoon sun. Breathing was shallow, delicious draughts of air, flavored by the saltwater, tucked into my nostrils and, held but a moment, expelled for yet another greedy sampling. Robin's pulse was slow, her motion on the small waves reported in delicate splashing about the bow. It lasted about an hour, probably more than enough to bring a smile to my face in that fog to come.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The following is the review of Rescue of the Bounty published by Booklist, the magazine of the American Librray Association. We re pleased. When a coast guard C-130 and its crew members set out over the Atlantic into “Frankenstorm” Sandy in a nighttime sea rescue, they came upon a startling sight, “a big pirate ship in the middle of a hurricane.” Built in 1960 for the film Mutiny on the Bounty, the aging tall ship had been featured in two Pirates of the Caribbean movies and was now attempting to make its way down the coast from Connecticut to winter dockage in Florida. In the raging waves and wind, the Bounty began to fail, and despite the efforts of its seaworthy but sparse crew of 16 women and men, it was sinking. Coauthors Tougias (Overboard!, 2010) and Campbell superbly re-create the disastrous voyage, providing just the right amount of detail to bring every character involved in this dramatic tale to life, from Bounty captain Robin Walbridge and his shipmates to the brave coast guard rescue swimmers. A thrilling and perfectly paced book, Rescue of the Bounty is filled with good intentions but bad decisions, tall-ship history and current usage, and the roar and taste of the storm-whipped ocean. — Eloise Kinney

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sailing Scuttlebutt, a daily blog for sailors with 11,000 viewers, has taken note of Rescue of the Bounty, reprinting the Kirkus review. We're hoping Sailing Anarchy, which caters to hard-core sailors like the Bermuda 1-2 racers, will do the same.
At this late point in life, I still have a lot to learn. Fortunately, I have wandered into a realm where many lessons are offered. In November, I was asked if I wanted to be commodore of our little boat club, the Red Dragon Canoe Club. Since the alternative was to keep being the club's secretary, which demanded that I keep notes of the organization's meetings and make them available to the members, and since I really didn't want to continue my three-year occupation of that post, I accepted the offer. The club is in the midst of attempting to find its way forward, a task that involves a choice of keeping and restoring our historic clubhouse -- a post-Civil-War mansion that is in disrepair -- or abandoning it one way or another. There are 90 memberships in the club. A membership can be held by an individual or a family. There are probably more than 90 opinions as to the path we should take. I had heard of "cat herding" before I took office in January. Now I truly know what that means. Since there is no right or wrong answer to the problem -- only strongly-held views -- it is more than difficult to do a fair job of leading the club members. Added to this overriding concern, the harsh winter has brought its own problems: A downed power line that hasn't been fully repaired, leaking toilets that have tripled our water bill and the desires of separate members to do this or that with the club property. I'm not certain that I am, at this point, learning. Tomorrow night we have a monthly meeting of the members, and that will amount to the first true exam. I'm spending today cramming for it.