Quietly Watching It All Grow

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For some it could be a fragmented nightmare. To write an encyclopedic book about the sea in literature. Such a vast subject, so many books, and encyclopedia itself is a fragmented form of writing.

I don’t like living in a fragmented world. I spread the time and space pockets as wide as I can. Being analogue for most of the day helps to do the trick. I worked as a journalist in my previous life, I thought I loved it, but something didn’t let me to enjoy the job to the fullest. To gather information as quickly, but thoroughly as you can, write, publish, and google for a new material, it all left me feeling a bit empty. I enjoyed many moments of that life, I learned a lot and I’m grateful for each and every lesson and opportunity I had. Thank you! But overall I was slowly transforming into many small pieces, broken from a whole. So I quit and searched for my unique silhouette to fill it with seamless life and lots of love.

Long story short, I don’t enjoy a fragmented world, but here I am – writing Enseaclopedia. Isn’t there a contradiction? I think, no. I have one monumental and immensely inspiring subject in front of me – the sea. To reach its soul, I have to gather lots of small pieces, fragments if you like, and to patiently wait what will become of them. What will grow. Without humble patience the secrets of the sea will remain sealed and scattered. James Joyce wrote Ulysses for many years and in one letter to his financial and sometimes moral supporter Miss Harriet Weaver in July 20, 1919, he says:

“and, moreover, it is impossible for me to write these episodes quickly. The elements needed will only fuse after a prolonged existence together.”

James Joyce in letter to Harriet Weaver

Fusing was an important strategy of Joyce’s writing. I believe it’s the same for many writers. In the introduction of his book Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, which I will show you next week, historian Thomas Cahill tells about his method:

“I assemble what pieces there are, contrast and compare, and try to remain in their presence till I can begin to see and hear and love what living men and women once saw and heard and loved, till from these scraps and fragments living men and women begin to emerge and move and live again – and then I try to communicate these sensations to my reader.”

Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea

“To remain in their presence … till … begin to emerge” and “will only fuse after a prolonged existence together” involves time, patience and willingness to dive deep for the pearls. I feel so at home when reading about such ways of doing research and writing a book. How do you write a book?

“Only when we step back can we see that we have been reassembling something that can stand in the wind.” 

Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea
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4 Comments

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  1. Cahill makes history a treasure for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m pleased to tell you that I have nominated you for a Mystery Blogger Award. Go here for details: https://feedmyfamilyblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/27/mystery-blogger-award/
    I hope you will have time to answer my questions.

    Liked by 1 person

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