This City of Islands

time to get back at it

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Sorry for the radio silence

There are mornings when the sets line up almost perfectly and you have to force yourself back to shore to get on with your life, and then there are days were you're just never in the right position to catch what few infrequent waves come in. Obviously, the former is the more enjoyable experience, that feeling that it's just all happening and somehow almost effortlessly you're there to feed on that energy, but there's a lot to learn from the latter, which is where I have found myself for a few years now when it comes to writing.

"The close, painstaking study of a tiny patch of coast, every eddy and every angle, even down to the individual rocks, and in every combination of tide and wind and swell—a longitudinal study, through season after season—is the basic occupation of surfers at their local break," William Finnegan writes in Barbarian Days. "Getting a spot wired—truly understanding it—can take years. At very complex breaks, it's a lifetime's work, never completed. This is probably not what most people see, glancing seaward, noting surfers in the water, but it's the first-order problem that we're out there trying to solve: what are these waves doing, exactly, and what are they likely to do next? Before we can ride them, we have to read them, or at least make a credible start on the job.

"Nearly all of what happens in the water is ineffable—language is no help."

Let's see if any of that surfer wisdom applies to hack writers like me.


“We're here to work, not break free.”

The Radio Dept.