Mid-Winter Strait Session Report

You might notice the snow, the hat, the lack of any waves actually showing; you might wonder what that is in the background. A chunk of land? No, it’s a board.

tim nolan

I got to this spot at 8am, trying to beat the wave-killing high tide, surprised (and a bit worried) at the treacherous conditions (the parking area, not the waves); this, in my front wheel drive car (rather than the all wheel drive work van), and after driving good (not icy, not compact snow) conditions on surf route 101.

I was too late. Or too early. High tide was at eleven. Tim had been out since seven (first light), picking off set waves, sliding across the outside sections, easing out when each wave mushed-out.  It wasn’t exactly barreling, but Mr. Nolan was getting the most out of each ride. Gliding. Cruising.

So, I was hanging out.  On my way west, I had followed a woman (I think her name is Hannah) from Joyce (one of only a small group of true locals) in her full-sized SUV, at about 60 mph; slower, much slower when negotiating highway 112s downhill slalom course.  Once I turned into and over the remnants of the snow-plowed curb and onto the pullout road, I was committed, wheels in the deep ruts, plowing  through the iced-over snow between the ruts. Ahhhhh!

Hannah (possible Hannah) pulled perpendicular to the beach, and soon joined Tim in the water. Meanwhile, I tried to find a less-snow-choked area to park, way too worried to pull out of the ruts. I finally backed into a position under a tree and behind one of those Sprinter vans, the ruts deep and muddy.

NOW, I have to give Hannah a lot of credit for her commitment.  A mother of two kids, she was surfing when (apparently- one doesn’t ask) seven or so months pregnant, and then (evidently) only several weeks after delivering her third child.  When she did get out of the water, I went over to tell her I thought she might have been speeding (again, I was keeping up), she told me she got the short straw, and her husband (Dave, I’m pretty sure) would get to surf when it (hopefully) got better.

Meanwhile, the tide still rising, me still waiting, a guy who delivers mail to Neah Bay wheeled his (classic, short wheel base) big-tired Jeep into the parking area, straight into a divet, jumped out, lit up a smoke, walked over toward me.  “I have to admire your confidence,” I said. “Oh, I can get out,” he said.  “I’m not a surfer,” he said, using his cigarette to draw a line across the horizon, “this any good?”

“If the swell doesn’t fall off or the angle doesn’t change, or…” He wasn’t really interested. He wasn’t a surfer. He probably did burn out half of his clutch trying to rock back and forth (forward and back, I guess), before ‘locking-in’ his lugs (I hope that’s the term for putting it in four wheel drive), and getting out; no doubt lighting up another smoke.

About this time a small-sized pickup with (only) two boards in the back makes the turn and slides through the ruts, pulls up and cranks a left, straight toward the water. “Four wheel drive?”  “No, it’s rear wheel drive.” “Oh.”

I recommended another (not secret) spot he might try with the high tide. Somewhere in here he (John, from Auburn) bought an Original Erwin t-shirt from those I still have (all now large or extra-large) in the Toyota.  When John couldn’t get out, he tried to put chains on the back tires. Not so easy.

A guy who had, evidently, walked in from the highway, helped me push John’s rig back into the ruts. When the pickup made it to the blacktop the guy said we’d met before (“Oh, okay,”) and introduced himself with, “Luke (I hope that’s right). No one knows who I am, but everyone knows my girlfriend.” “Who’s your girlfriend?” “Kim, Kim with the VW bug.” “Yeah. Kim. I think I was out the first time she surfed at ________ ______.” As Luke walked away, evidently going to look elsewhere for waves, I said, “Luke. Yeah. I’ll remember you the next time.” “Sure. That’s what you said the last time.”

Meanwhile, the guy from the Sprinter suits up, goes out on a Lib-tech (small, short) board, and a guy with two longboards on his all-wheel-drive pickup, who watched but didn’t help push John’s truck, suits up, says he thinks the east wind will blow it out by the time the tide drops, and besides, “It’s not crowded.”

Longboard Guy (didn’t get or don’t remember his name) grabs a really long board, makes a negative comment on SUPs. “You know, at San Onofre, they have to go to one end of the beach.” “Fine. I do say anyone under 60 who rides one is a _______.”  Now, I only decided to blank out the word I always use here is it might be considered sexist. So, maybe I should replace pussy with whimp. Not sexist.

About this time, a regular-sized SUV pulls in.  It’s Cole, a guy I’ve seen quite a few times out on the Strait, and a friend.

Somewhere in here, knowing I couldn’t concentrate on surfing if I didn’t think I could get out of the parking lot, I side-slipped and rut-rode my way out to the highway, considered parking on the side of the road, but, with the snow piled on the fogline, decided the odds of someone (like a log truck or an RV) side-swiping my vehicle were pretty high, and counting on my ability to get out twice, I pulled back in; still parallel to the beach.

Somewhere around 10am, Tim Nolan gets out of the water. Since I’d spent quite a bit of time leaning against his all wheel drive (says it right on the car) Suburu, I give him a hand with his board.

“Are you catching up to me yet?”  He meant in age. “Yeah, I think so. You were working it, man.” “Thanks.”

Incidentally, Tim is 71, I’m 67, and his continued commitment to surfing continues to be an inspiration to me.  When I first met him, probably 16 years ago, he told me some of my best surfing days were still to come. And he was right.

If you surf on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, you probably recognize Mr. Nolan. A boat designer in Port Townsend, Tim participates in flat water SUP races, has paddled every bit of the Strait (on purpose), and helps out in some community support activities that I only heard about from others.  That says something about his character.

So, Cole and his buddy came over to Tim’s car. He showed us the results from his Apple watch. He had travelled 3.9 miles during his session, with red lines (a lot of them) showing each ride. “About half of that (somewhere around two miles) is surfing.”

Very impressive.  I kind of thought I was getting a contact high from my proximity to the two younger surfers. Legal, of course. Just to make sure, I touched Cole. “Yep; now it’s a contact high.”

I went out at mean high tide. The wind changed to west rather than east; more people came out, including, surprise, Adam Wipeout (who showed up when I had told myself I was going to catch five more waves and was down to one); so I kept surfing.

On the way back, after I had to back up, gun it, probably damage my transmission to power through the pile at the highway, I figured out the whole experience- three hours of driving (there and back), three hours of waiting, and three hours of surfing.

No Apple watch, lost track of number of waves. And, if I factor in the wetsuit donning and un-donning, and the stops at Costco, Walmart, the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE; yeah, 12 hours or so. SO, GOOD.

 

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New Drawing, New Greeting Logo

It’s my new computer, and I’m trying to figure it out.  I’ve hooked up the printer one other time, found out it’s out of ink. Errrr.  Trish had hooked it up before that, and evidently used the last of the ink.

It’s not that I need ink to scan a few drawings.  No, but I do have to find out where the drawings end up, and how to get them from there to here.  SO:

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Meanwhile… wait, it worked. Great! The first drawing is another one originally drawn as the negative version of this.  It’s a learning experience.  When I saw the resultant re-positive-imaged drawing, I discovered the mountains didn’t show up very well.  So, I went back in with some black lines, and got… what you see.

I do have this drawing available as a print at Tyler Meek’s DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE, and I’m adding the image as another in a group of greeting cards I’ve been working on.

HEY, Tyler has a lot of snow-thrashing gear and clothing, there’s snow in the Olympics; so… check it out!

The other drawing is to be used as one of two (so far), way reduced in size for the backs of the soon-to-be-available, ORIGINAL ERWIN cards.

MEANWHILE, waves continue to miss the Strait of Juan de Fuca, as far as I know, and it’s cold, and, yeah, even though I totally entered a state of hypothermia last time I surfed, I’m ready for some more. Or some.  OH, and I’m at 39,000 words, or so, on my novel, “SWAMIES.”

“SWAMIES”- INSIDE THE LINEUP

I continue to be baffled by computers, and get tangled and confused even with tasks I’ve previously performed successfully; like transferring something from the 35,000 plus words I’ve written so far on my novel, “Swamis.”

BUT, this particular chapter with actual surfing in it, which was set earlier in the narrative, had to be moved, just to lessen confusion for readers, from around page 42 to somewhere in the high 50s.  I was able to highlight, copy, and transfer the words, intact, but three attempts to move it from the thumb drive too realsurfers, doing some refining each time, failed.

AND I lost the changes.

SO, here I am typing it onto the site.  I do have some other actual surfing in the manuscript, and plan on writing more, and (spoiler alert) the novel will come to some sort of conclusion during the famous December 1969 swell, though probably not on Big Wednesday.  Maybe on ‘Still Good’ Friday.

REMEMBER, although I surfed Swamis every day during the swell, with varying degrees of success, “Swamis” is still a work of fiction.  That is, the story and characters are fictional, mostly; THE WAVES ARE REAL.

INSIDE THE LINEUP

Jumper was the farthest surfer out, sitting on the Boneyards side of the outside peak, looking at the horizon.  There was a pack on the safer side of where most waves would start to break. As always. Swamis.  There was that string of surfers, with another pack in the vicinity of the inside peak.  At this tide, probably a third, or so, of the waves, the bigger waves, would connect all the way across.

Jumper seemed to feel someone approaching, or he heard the splash and glide of my paddling. He didn’t look around, but rotated his board enough to catch me in his peripheral vision.

“You didn’t call… could have called Tony; given me a head’s up.”

“Figured you’d know.”

I did. “I did. Of course. Cardiff’s… the parking lot is full, and…”

“So it must be good. Huh?”

A line on the horizon started to thicken, darken, take form; a wall, the peak of it fifty yards over from me, farther for Jumper. I could see the lineup come alive; surfers dropping to prone, paddling out and toward us.

“Number three,” Jumper said. “Block for me.”

“Fuck you, Jumper,” I said, stroking hard, out and toward the first wave.  I looked-off three guys also trying to get in position, turned, sank the tail of my board, stroked hard, and took off. I dropped in, made the down-the-line bottom turn, knowing, if it didn’t look like I would make the first section, shoulder-hoppers would take off.  If they didn’t kno0w wave etiquette, didn’t know who I was, or didn’t care, some fool might drop in anyway.

Some surfers, taking off from the outside (weirdly enough, called the ‘inside’ position- closest to the peak) will whistle at the attempted interlopers, or yell something like, “I’m on it!”  Or something harsher. I tried to resist those urges; but I had been known to come as close to any surfer dropping in that… maybe it was an intimidation tactic. Maybe.

I was more likely to just yell, “Go!”

I leaned hard into another bottom turn, looking off two new scrappers. I aimed for a place high on the steepening wave; hit it, tucked into a short tube. Then, while I’m trying to deal with the board speed on a weakening shoulder, someone did drop in.

“Fuck!” I tried to cutback, couldn’t, fell sideways, awkwardly, trying to fall onto my board, or, at least, close enough to grab it.

Nope.  The guy who dropped in, totally unaware (probably) that he was almost hit by my board, (probably) had one of the best rides of his surf life; while I hoped my board would pop up within a swimmable distance before the second wave of the set hit. Nope. Almost there, then… whoosh; more swimming.

Three kooks were sharing the second wave, which had, as I would have predicted, swung wider, more toward the inside peak.  The guy in front stayed in front, the guy in middle tried to stay in position, the back guy (who should have had priority) got (and this is pretty standard, though, sometimes the front guy pulls out- etiquette)  knocked off the wave. I ducked under rather than (and this would have been good etiquette) making a grab for his board.

The third wave, number three; that was the wave. Of course. I just stopped swimming, turned around, bouncing in the eel grass on the ledges, keeping my head above water. I watched Jumper backdoor the peak; tucked-in, covered; emerging, still high on the wave, most of his body above the lip, backlit for a mind-extended moment; then unweighting, redirecting, s-turning while dropping to the bottom. He leaned forward and into the wave, body stretched-out, front hand pointing down the line.

As the inside section formed, he kick-stalled (another freeze-frame-moment in the flow), crouched, and disappeared again.

Some gremmie retrieved my bo0ard, shoved it out to me, just as Jumper finished his ride with an in-the-closeout island pullout, the tailblock of his board coming quite close to me.

He brushed back the water, pulled the hair out of his eyes. “No, fuck you, Jody.”

“Nice ride, man. Number three. Outside peak. Why’d I doubt?”

“Because you, my friend, lack faith.”

“”We’re not friends.”

Another set caused us both to wait, reef-dancing on the finger ledges. “We are. I am the best fucking friend you’ve got.” He tapped me on the chest. A little too hard; looking for my reaction.

“Then, friend; why didn’t you tell me?”

“You’re the detective.”

“Fuck you… again, man. You heard Dickson. ‘There ain’t no eighteen-year-old detectives.’ Right? Stoolies, narcs, informants. Undercover, um, agents.  Not interested. But you…”

“Yeah, me. Me; I am interested. Stoolie, narc, informant, undercover… yeah.  And you, you need to stay away.” My expression, evidently, changed. Way too readable. “You aren’t going to… stay away.” Nope.  “You should.”

We both saw the break in the waves, the chance to paddle back out. We both leapt onto our boards. Jumper almost instantly jumped off his, blocked me from paddling. “First of all, Joseph; you were interested. Second, it was me who said ‘eighteen-year-old detectives.’ Dickson thought you were still seventeen. Friends.”

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Jumper got back onto his board, paddled through a wave and toward the channel. He paddled toward the pack at the inside peak, past the shoulder-hoppers and the scrappers, past the sitters, the channel markers, those folks afraid to go on set waves, afraid to get caught inside.  Those who knew who Jumper was would, if in his direct path, move aside, their feet moving like ducks, rotating.

I tried to paddle out inside (closer to shore) the pack, and got caught by a four wave set. I had almost made it past and through to the outside when an older guy (probably pushing thirty), but an obvious beginner (stink but stance, big arm movements) from Escondido (at least that’s where his license plate frame said he bought his flashy black Monte Carlo), wearing out-of-date, out-of-fashion jams over his wetsuit (for modesty, perhaps, but totally impractical- they wouldn’t ride up, almost instantly rip out) had to fall on his flashy board to avoid hitting me.  His anger only added to mine.

“Fucking paddle around, Kook,” he yelled. Hand signals were added; big arm movements. “Don-cha-fuckin’ know nothin?”

I chose not to be angry. “Sorry, sir. You were… (I made a smooth hand/forearm gesture) surfing so very well. Sir.” Nice guy/apologetic smile.

“Um. Oh. Well. Oh? Yeah?”  I nodded. He smiled.  Now he had a story. “Well; next time…”

I was already paddling, again, taking the inside route.

 

 

Arrrrrr- It’s a New COmputer and…wherrrr…

…I haven’t quite figured out the thing. It’s super confusing but claims it isn’t.

I did have my portion of our computer pretty much dialed-in. And then… it melted/failed/broke/blew up. And then, getting familiar with the Amazon Fire tablet while waiting for the new computer, I’m now wondering how long it will take to figure this thing out.

I did figure out how to work on my novel, “Swamis,” so, that’s good. Did I mention I just got the new unit today? Well, in the time I was waiting, I did go to the version I printed out, 60-some pages, scribbling changes all over each page. So now I’ve been adding those changes to the thumb drive-saved version.

This is a lot like work. Shit. Work. Complicating this, this morning, waiting for the local Post Office to get organized, going over a few more pages, I discovered that, for the sake of continuity, and for the story to make sense, I will have to move major chapters around. Again, this is kind of like work. Who knew?

Meanwhile, I did manage, after driving out and back and out again, at one point (point break, not breaking) being very close to a major arrest scene (pretty much every police officer in Clallam County) in a triple murder, and enduring a double skunking on one trip (though, if I had gone back to my last resort spot, I might have found surfable waves), find some waves at the just-mentioned but unnamed location.

So, fun.

Here’s something: If you hoot on good rides by surfers you don’t actually know, though I would never recommend hooting anything but a good ride, you might make a new friend. Or, maybe that person might forgive you when you steal a wave or two.

Not that I recommend theft.

I do recommend calling out waves. If you say, say “Number three,” it automatically means waves one, two, four, five, etc. are up for grabs. Seems kind of democratic. Friendly.

Okay, let’s see if I can get this thing onto the world wide web.

 

If You Wait, On the Strait…

…AND you know the proper trail to take; well, maybe you might not get skunked.

I would like to take some ownership of the phrase, “Lucky or Local.”  I’ve been both in the, wait, doing the math, um, carry the three, uh, 54 years since I started board surfing; and, while being a local isn’t as wonderful as it seems to someone stuck inland- I’m lying; it’s great- catching those little pockets of time and space and place non-locals miss- great.

It’s not like being a local isn’t without it’s  own frustrations; working at a house on the bluff above Stone Steps on a slippery-glass afternoon, knowing school is about to let out and the crowd will then include hyper-charged teens, seeing a car empty out four surfers who wouldn’t have gone to this particular peak if you weren’t on it.

It’s the Dawn Patrol syndrome. If you get somewhere first, say, and it’s good; it somehow seems more frustrating every time some new surfer or surfers paddle out. In the Last Light version, surfers are leaving, others hanging in until every little chop seems like a fin, another entity sharking the lineup.

The bigger frustration is, if you are a local, and you just can’t surf (the list of reasons is long- sickness, injury, work, work, work), you know exactly what you’re missing.

Exactly.

And, I should mention that, when I was a local in Pacific Beach, I wasn’t a local in Mission Beach, or Ocean Beach, or Sunset Cliffs, or Windansea; the status is pretty much non-transferable.

I started writing this to, I must confess, complain about my latest skunking, in which the buoy readings at 5:30 were good enough to make a trip not seem utterly foolish, but deteriorated as I got closer. Result; I’m waiting in an empty pullout, with the weakest version of waves sort of wandering toward shore, shapelessly, aimlessly. “Maybe… after the tide bottoms out.” “Maybe the angle will improve.”

Or maybe not.

Anecdotally, I could have, using what I know of the fickle nature of the Strait and of the times I have found rideable waves on similar tide/angle/period/wind situations; scored.  That would have been great. Score.  I didn’t. I did do some waiting, then went to the time-honored surf routine of checking other spots.

Nope. I did see a group of women preparing to launch a large kayak, I did see pretty much every cop in Clallam County at a scene (pretty close to a sometimes-surf spot) where they arrested a suspect in a triple homicide, did check out another spot with Chimacum Tim (the only other surfer I saw on the Strait, other than a couple who left ten seconds after reaching a place on the trail where they could see there were no waves at a spot Tim and I were checking from the actual beach), who, trying to get some waves in on his soon-to-end vacation, insisted he was almost-sore from surfing the previous day.

“Yeah; should have been here…” Yesterday.

So, in one of the few zones where cell reception is possible, I rechecked the buoys. It was a definite ‘probably not,’ but the next buoy south… the angle… the tide would be better.

Double Skunk.

Rationalize. “It’s better than working.” “Next time… for sure.”

For sure. Next time.

Connecting With A Keyboard… Yea!

Hey, I’m just testing this out. Trish bought a bluetooth keyboard to go with my (supposedly mine) tablet, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work.

Until I had to. It’s a little small for my fingers, but way faster than one finger hunt-and-pecking my way through.

If I could figure out how to get to Microsoft Word, how and where to save what I write, I might be able to do some more work on “Swamis,” the novel. I’m dying to, but right now, I have to get ready, just in case.

Just in case…

Space Awareness

I guy I was painting with, and this was a few years ago, a possibly typical, happy hour loving (definitely appreciating) individual (meaning he started and left the job way earlier than I did), told me, enjoying reduced-price beverages at a lounge in Port Angeles, that two surfers were (annoyingly, he pointed out, to fellow lounger, him) talking surfing.

“Nonstop. And, two hours later (post happy hour)?”

” Um, uh, surfing? ”

Yes.

So it was, and so it is that yesterday, checking the buoy readings the average, 8 or 15 times per day, and, because I was working very close to a vantage point on the fickle Strait of Juan de Fuca, looking (in, as usual, vain) for any sign of waves three times, but then forced, because that job was finished, to drive 50 miles away to another job, I probably spent, between illegally talking on the cellphone-while -driving, legally talking on the cellphone while hanging out in a parking lot with a view of ripples going the wrong direction, and actually talking, in person to another frustrated  surfer – um, like, two hours.

So, like… Like happy hour. And I had my own coffee (black, no, you know, painterly extras). I would add more, about what I talked with Chimacum Timacum about (Seaside locals – hint) surfer stuff, like the last times there were waves, when the next time might be, but my fingers are getting numb from typing on this tablet, and, besides, it’s time to check the buoy readings

Tim took this photo of a fiercely –  defended  spot. We talked about it.

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Screaming and Yelling

My laptop… Actually Trisha’s laptop… Whichever, it’s, evidently, no, almost certainly dead. I’m writing this on my Amazon Fire tablet, and the fact that I’m hunting and pecking, when I can type about 50 words a minute only adds to the frustration.

But, though I really have no clue as to what we’ve lost, I may have saved the thirty thousand plus words I have written for my novel, “Swamis”.

This was with the phone help of our daughter, Drucilla, with 3% life left on the only one of three batteries that would allow the laptop to start up at all (and after the repair program evidently erased Microsoft Word from the computer), and with Dru’s usually cool under pressure dad (at least I claim to be) freaking the duck out (hey, that was supposed to be ‘the fuck ‘ out, auto-correcting overlords), and unable to perform what she insisted is a basic and simple task of moving a file to a thumb drive…

And the battery life draining, draining, draining.

So, thanks, Dru.

Now. Now I don’t know, don’t know when we’ll get another laptop, not sure if the version saved us compatible with… I am just imagining breaking out an abandoned P.C. and… or taking my thumbdrive to the library or the community center… or… I just don’t know.

But I am not, currently, screaming and yelling and cursing and… not panicking.

Maybe later. What I do know is the novel is pretty important to me.

One other thing. Most of the artwork I have scanned appears somewhere in realsurfers, and… let’s check that out.

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On Not Being Ernest

I’ll get to the circumstances in a moment, but the part that’s critical to this story is that, yesterday morning I told a former Hollywood producer (he’s legit) that I’ve used the three weeks-plus Trish and I have suffered (her more than me) without internet access, and without a land line, to work on my novel, “Swamis.”

“Four hours a day the past two days,” I said.

“Hemingway worked seven,” he said, “And standing up.”

“Oh,” I said, noticing that Bob was, himself, standing, scanning multiple images from the weekend’s football games on two computer screens (yeah, the internet worked at the Quilcene Community Center where he’s served- and I’ve never quite figured out why- as director for quite a few years); “Hemingway probably didn’t have a… regular job.”

hemingway

OKAY. I’m not Hemingway.

And, just in passing; I’m not standing up to write this.

NOW, the reason I was, on this Monday morning, patrolling Surf Route 101 from my house to downtown Quilcene, checking out the Century Link switching station (no one there), and then cruising farther south to the Community Center, is that, on the previous Friday, doing the same thing, hoping to see some line truck (none), to give myself (and Trish, forced to do Facebook on her phone- Frustrating- tiny type) some hope that the major corporation hadn’t just decided to write off our rural outpost; and, since I was cruising town (which includes going to the Post Office, going to the ATM at the only bank in town to see if we still have money in our accounts, something, along with buoy readings and surf forecast and tide charts, I check several times a day, if we had internet access); I decided to stop in, say ‘Happy New Year’ to Bob, tell him about my novel (“Swamis”); and, to convince Bob that, if he has one last big play to make in Hollywood, it should be to get the story (“Swamis”) produced as, at least, a Netflix, no, Amazon limited-series.

So, yeah, some hope.

SOMETHING ELSE I’ve been unable to do is post on this site (realsurfers.net). Yes, I did, one time, with about ten minutes to do it in, at our son’s house; but waves have been ridden, sessions have been missed, surfers on too-small-for-the-conditions boards have been frustrated by old guys on big (enough) boards. After one session, I ran into a writer, and, more importantly, a professional editor, whose house (former house, with former wife) I painted a few years ago.

Mark, in exchange for some extra painting, edited an overlong piece I was planning on reading (and did) at the FIRST SURF CULTURE ON THE STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA AND SALISH SEA event.  His editing was totally great.  There were parts where I ignored his advice, and read them as originally written. Mistake.

It turned out that two of my surfing friends (they may deny the friends part), Derrick and Stephen, were working on Mark’s new house, with his new wife.  When I told Mark I was writing a novel, and asked if he could, maybe, please, just read a bit of it, he said he would… BUT it would be better if it was complete.

“I just want to have someone tell me… the style, that’s what I’m…”

“Just let me know… when it’s complete. First draft.”

OH. GREAT. WAIT; WHAT? I’d already googled to discover a novel runs about 60,000 to 90,000 words. WHOA! Moby f’ing Dick! That’s a lot of words.

“It’s not like I’m writing it start-to-finish, then self-editing. I keep going back and…”

“No. I get it. When it’s done… call me.”

Well, winter; long nights (missed sessions), the fact that I can use the laptop as a word processor even without the internet; I’m up to thirty-two thousand words, plus; and I’m thinking about it constantly, getting close to figuring out who did it in my own mystery/surf novel.

TWO THINGS:

ONE: I also ran into Clayton last Friday. Clayton lives between our house and town, has a sort of Christmas tree farm, and, through Trish and Facebook, I knew his internet was, also, out. He was at the Community Center last Friday, using their computers. SO, I found out the outage had been on his property, with an electric line, during one of our more-than-usual number of windstorms, fell onto the phone/DSL lines, frying it, melting all the little lines that go to, well, us and some unknown (and, despite daily long calls to Century Link, they wouldn’t tell me) number of customers.

Still ONE: I was kind of hoping Clayton might be hanging out at the Center. Monday’s Century Link representative de jour (and they’re all over the country- I ask) told me the outage was fixed, and everyone was back on line; but, since our modem was still solid red on the DSL light, I did not believe her. Clayton wasn’t there, but Bob was, in his office.

TWO: I have worked with Bob in the past. In fact, he drafted me to write a column for the Center’s monthly newsletter. “Quite popular” he tells me. I met Bob, as I meet most people, by painting for him when he first retired to the area.  I was still writing a column for the “Port Townsend Leader” at the time, showed him the a copy of the manuscript of my second (the first was never quite finished, this one, “At That Moment” written on computer, word processor, long hand, the first 70 or so pages way more, um, edited than the last 70- or so) novel; and, some months later, I was writing, and he was changing, my first screenplay, “Near-Life.”

Still TWO: It’s a play on ‘near-death,’ and I had one vision; Bob another. He tried to shop it around Hollywood, and we came ‘this close’ to it being purchased by an outfit headed by John Travolta. Almost. Bob was waiting for a phone call. I was waiting (while working) for his phone call after that phone call. It was pretty exciting.  “Almost,” Bob said.

There is a huge difference between ‘almost’ and success.

The story of surf on the Strait is a story of ‘almost.’ Or, maybe it’s a story of ‘sometimes.’

I’m not Ernest Hemingway. Never claimed to be. I looked him up, last night, after I passed two line trucks on their way to Quilcene around eleven; I on my way to Bremerton to work; after I got home around 8pm, and Trish, not nearly caught up on emails and Facebook, let me use the laptop. Hemingway, successful writer, wasn’t writing seven hours a day at 67, standing up. He shot himself at the age of 61.

I wanted to text Bob, mention that to him; but Trish told me (info from Facebook) that yesterday was Bob’s birthday; 82, same age as Jack Nicholson (I got that from Bob).

So, happy birthday, Bob.

I’ve pretty much used up my writing time for this morning. At least it wasn’t used hanging on the automated phone-chase or chasing up and down Surf Route 101. I checked our bank account balances; I can check the buoy readings on my phone.

 

 

The Customary Holiday Shutdown

Trish and I are at our son Sean’s house, down Surf Route 101, hooking up our computer, checking out the 1200 or so e-mails in our in box. What? Yeah; we’ve been doing without. Not going off the grid by choice, our land line, then our internet went out, like, two weeks ago.

This was after our well/water lines had issues. It’s pretty much a holiday tradition. Last year our modem went out during the holiday weekend; fixed the day after Christmas.

This year, not so lucky. I missed several sessions where, allegedly, waves broke on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Luckily, I did get in on one session.

Luckily for me, and for Trish, she has been able to do Facebook on her phone. Yeah, it’s all smaller, harder to write long responses, but, at least she can keep up with the number of local folks also pissed off at CenturyLink.

Oh, I would love to get back the time I’ve spent, pretty much every day, on the (cell) phone, waiting to talk to a representative, each of whom told me it would be fixed that day.

So, far, nope.

Meanwhile, in the time I’ve not spent looking for leaks, trying to figure out wiring after, and this is connected to the replacement of the pump, and the time I didn’t waste online, I did a lot of work on “Swamis,” the novel.

I’m up to about 25,000 words, some of them only used once; and I’ve continued to edit the earlier chapters.

Anyway, we’re ordering pizza and I’ve got to get off the computer. We’re planning on cruising into the HamaHama Oyster Company on the way back up.

So, I’ll get back to some new realsurfers stuff. as people who work for the government keep saying, and as skunked surfers tell each other, maybe tomorrow.