Not Just for Poets

“Halloooooooo!” says Tigger!

I’ve brought in a Caterpillar D-10

to move my email around after hiring a Caterpillar 797F off-road truck to haul it to my office.

My husband and son under the wheel of the Caterpillar truck hired to bring my email to my office

My husband and son under the           12,000 lb. wheel

Each wheel, attached to the axle with 47 nuts torqued to 2300 lb.-ft. each, costs $250,000.

Why, oh why, did I ever go on holiday?! Surely not just to visit the Caterpillar Museum in Peoria, Illinois?

No! We went on holiday to capsize a 19 foot Interlake sailboat in the 64 degree F waters of Muscungus Bay, Maine during an around the island boat race:

Ashore at Bremen Long Island in Muscungus Bay

BLI Race 2013 057

Captain and Crew – My husband and I are standing on rocks behind the boats after we swam (pulling the boat with the boys on top) ashore.

There IS a reason they call this sailboat a “lake” boat. It’s wicked fast in light winds but knocks over easily in gusts above 20 knots (especially if your young crew is intent on pulling aboard seaweed and squishing it all over themselves instead of manning the jib sheet). I had been soaked from the waist down since we buried the rail earlier in the race so I was suffering from a touch of hypothermia by the time we got to shore (half an hour) and were “rescued” by the race committee boat. The boys were warm, singing and dancing on the foredeck after their initial dousing. My husband has a little more insulation than I. He was fine.

I did read a few good books while away. I just reviewed The Artful Edit by Susan Bell over at Dogpatch Writers Collective.

But now I want to share with you another:

book cover

I’ve known about this book for years, but I had never read it. From the start:

“You’ll never be a poet [or fiction writer] until you realize that everything I say today and this quarter is wrong.”

I fell in love. I’ve underlined many phrases in this book, but the one that rings truest for me is this:

“I believe that it is only in periods when you can transcend your competitive instincts that you can write. A sound analogy could be made with hitting a baseball. If you concentrate on beating a particular pitcher, your chances of hitting him [meaning hitting one of his pitches] are not as good as they are if you can ignore him until he disappears and you can concentrate on the ball. “

Many, many other lovely quotes in this book. Some of the “advice” is helpful, most all of it is entertaining. The Triggering Town is a slim volume that can help your writing practice, or at least give you bellies of warm laughs–something to consider when you’ve got hypothermia.

So folks, I’m now doing to make my editor and other writers disappear as I concentrate on my work.

20 thoughts on “Not Just for Poets

  1. Call of the Siren says:

    The line about transcending our competitive interests in order to write is great (even though long ago I realized I was way too stupid to compete with anyone). Thanks for the tip on that book, Jil.

    By the way, your commentary with pics is really really great. Tractors and sunken sailboats — awesome vacation!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Nick, Nick! You underestimate your talents! But I think that comment can also be read a different way: don’t be intimidated by the works of great artists.

      Yes, it’s a vacation that will live in infamy! 😮

  2. Letizia says:

    Sounds like a wonderful book with great advice, not just for writers but about life. Competition often stifles creativity, I find. Thanks for the recommendation- another gem.

    I love your description of your holiday, especially the part about your boys squishing seaweed on their bodies. The best part about children is that they remind you that you can have fun doing just about anything!

  3. 4amWriter says:

    If you were in Maine, you weren’t too far from me! Your pics are great, looks like a blast. The Triggering Town sounds wonderful. I have never heard of it, but the quotes you shared definitely intrigue me. I will add it to my list of to-reads.

  4. Laurel Leigh says:

    I love hearing about your vacations–from tugging your own boat ashore to giardia in Mexico to sleeping on top of your vehicle while wild jackals fought on the ground below. It was jackals, right? That one was a while back. Regarding the book review, what a great tip to set aside competitiveness as one writes. Probably even set aside the desire to entertain and just dig into the guts of the story. Thanks for another great post!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Hyenas, babe. Their jaws are much more fierce and about four times as large as jackals. They decimated the cooler. And boy are they hideous creatures to behold, especially in a flashlight beam. 😮

      You are oh-so-right about setting aside anything that detracts from complete immersion in the story. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Sheila says:

    This is so funny – I hope you’ve recovered from your hypothermia and have thawed your fingers out enough to really write away. I’ve managed to capsize a boat like that in a lake so my sailing skills are even worse. I’ll have to remember to visit more often and will look for you on Twitter.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      I have been writing away, trying to get a story in shape for submitting and taking pieces of an old novel out of the drawer an throwing some thought into it.

      Glad to hear you survived your own capsizing. 😮 Lakes can be just as tricky for sailing, depending on the weather.

      Please do stop by again. I have to remember to Tweet. That’s one of the things that goes by the wayside when I’m distracted with other things–like writing. 😮

      • Sheila says:

        Hahah – yes it’s much better to be distracted by writing than the other way around! I just joined so it’s still a bit of a mystery to me…technology and all that. 🙂

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