“My absorption in the mystery and meaning of the sea…”
Rachel L. Carson, The Sea Around Us
“Are you writing a book?”
asked Elisewin from her seat, in front of the large fireplace.
“A sort of book.”
“Did you hear, Father Pluche?
Mr. Bartleboom writes books.”
“No, it’s not exactly a book…”
“It is an encyclopedia,” explained Ann Deveria.
Alessandro Baricco, Ocean Sea
Mr. Bartleboom didn’t keep his encyclopedic work a secret, although it wasn’t finished yet. His Encyclopedia of the Limits to be found in Nature was a sort of book, but it was more than that. It was his way of life. It’s a journey, not only a destination. Yes, I believe that every creative process has some magical part, that you can’t tell anyone about or the spell will be broken. But you can always reveal the outline. Give some idea. So I’ll try.
It was February 2, 2016, when I woke up at dawn, while my boys were still asleep, and started to work on my Enseaclopedia. “My absorption in the mystery and meaning of the sea,” as one of the finest nature writers of the 20th century, Rachel L. Carson, once wrote, started right there. It was the 134th birthday of James Joyce, and the birth of my journey. Since then I wake up very early to go into my studio on the first floor of our house where I try to understand the secret of the sea. During Summer months I spend the morning hours outside of the house. I ride my bike to reach the near seaside and read there, while listening to the tumultuous sound of the waves. Summer is nice, but sea has so many faces, and I love to see them all. I go to the beach as often as I can and take photos of the ever-changing, but always majestic personality of the sea.
“I thought it might be possible to think of a sea as the sum of all the reflections it had held during its history. You’d never know the half of them, of course; but in the clashes and contradictions of image against image, you might at least catch something of the provocative power of the sea, which has meant so much, so variously, to us.”
Jonathan Raban, Passage to Juneau
“To explore from as many angles as possible
the global scale of the maritime imaginary.”
B. Klein, G. Mackenthun, Sea Changes: Historicizing the Ocean
“Maybe the fiction is the only way I’ll get to the truth of it, looking from my submarine down into the depths, up into the imaginary tracks that are left on ocean’s surface, sea-lanes, whale’s ways, shearwater flights.”
Greg Dening, Deep Time, Deep Spaces
I’m not a painter, a sailor, a pirate or a fisherman. I’m not a marine biologist, a scuba diver or a surfer. I read and write, and I live side by side with the seaside. My main mastery are words. So it’s the best way I can try to “say the sea”. My Enseaclopedia is about the sea in literature. I believe in legacy as a fuel for moving forward and understanding the bigger picture. The pieces of puzzle, the yarns that I weave are the words and stories that hundreds of writers have put on paper since the first books were published.
I believe that Enseaclopedia will be a long journey and will take many years to complete. But – that’s one of the most beautiful things about it. The longitude.
“Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid of standing still.”
“Say the sea. Say the sea. Say the sea. So that perhaps a drop of that magic may wander through time, and something might find it, and save it before it disappears forever. Say the sea.
Because it’s what we have left.”
Alessandro Baricco, Ocean Sea