Goths at Sea

We came back from sailing yesterday and I am quite tan and missing a chunk of one finger and my shins are bruised green from my ankles to my knees from whacking them on things and all I want to do is get back on the boat and go out again.

Every morning was cloudy and every afternoon was sunny and the ocean goes so far around you when you are out on it. Sailing a forty-five foot boat with two people is sometimes stressful if one of the two people has no idea what she is doing, or at least it is for the person who has no idea what she is doing, but I learned to put the mainsail up by myself and take it down again, and I learned to steer when the boat was under sail--which is not hard, at least not in good weather, which was thankfully all we had, but it feels different--and I rowed the dinghy out and pulled the stern anchor up by myself too, which is not easy, especially not when a fishing boat with some tourists in it has parked itself on top of the stern anchor and all the tourists are watching you labor mightily with great curiosity, and you are thinking to yourself that if any of them says anything to you, just one thing, you will paddle the dinghy five feet over to their boat and punch them in the fucking face, and maybe they can tell you are thinking that since they are very quiet.

When we came back yesterday the captain of the sailboat in the neighboring slip was at home, and he had us over; he has lived on board his boat with his wife for fifteen years, and they have gone all around the world together, and he showed us pictures and we drank rum and listened to Mark Knopfler, a musician universally beloved by seafaring gentlemen of a certain age--and to be honest, in my limited experience, being on a sailboat does make a person have inexplicable urges to put on music she would never listen to otherwise--and maybe it was the rum, or the Mark Knopfler, but suddenly living aboard a sailboat did indeed begin to seem like a fine thing, and not having any possessions or encumbrances, and going about from port to port as one pleased, and having a lot of good stories about frightening weather and other people who don't know how to drop the anchor correctly. In reality if I lived aboard a sailboat with another person it is highly unlikely that we would both survive the week, and I am frightened of large waves and can barely swim, but I like to pretend that I am more generous and adaptable than in fact I am. And they were really marvelous pictures. J and I ate fish and chips at the harbor and I said Do you think all these people can tell I went sailing and J said I think they might all be tourists. In my heart I knew I just looked filthy but I chose to believe I looked tough and sea-minded instead.

On the second day of sailing we anchored just off the island, and J went ashore to record things, and I sat on the boat with the ostensible purpose of ensuring it did not drag its anchor and crash into anything--had it done so, I am not entirely certain I should have administered this crisis in a particularly competent manner--but with the actual goal of drinking some wine and putting on Lana del Rey and watching the sun set magnificently into the silvery mass of the Pacific, which I did at once to great effect. I have no idea which life decisions led me to that glorious point, but I am going to assume it was all of them, and so: no regrets. For all the valleys, there are mountains, and if they are difficult to climb, the labor of getting to the top does nothing to obstruct the view once you summit.

As before: you can order Jenny Zhang's Guillotine chapbook Hags, and I will send it to you as soon as I'm back in the city, and you won't even believe how good it is. Dirty Wings comes out on the 15th, and you can preorder a signed copy from the wonderful people at Word bookstore in Brooklyn or win a copy too from the delightful Courtney Summers. If you are in New York you can come to the launch party on August 7, with some Special Guests; more about that soon. That is assuming I come home, which is up in the air at this point.

xoxo

sarah