Saturday, March 27, 2010

Path of the Blazing Sarong stutters to life again, born, as usual, of frustration and wonderment. Without that feeling, it seems I have nothing to say. Since last November, I've devoted myself to the project of learning to write fiction, which is something I suck at. So, I haven't been writing much of anything else because that is so impossibly hard and takes all my willpower and time stolen from the rest of my life. This amorphous thing, motherhood, seems in fact to have unlocked any fragile/occasional talent (today is a day for pessimism, tristes tropiques), which is something I should write down. Anyway, my attempts to develop a plot recently devolved into a multiple choice game, one like How to Survive a Disaster, which I found in the children's section of the local library.
Why did the man disappear?
a) He was murdered.
b) He was having an affair.
c) No real reason--he was always unreliable.
I should have a firm grasp of whatever logic is at the heart of this story, and everything should be turning inevitably on that fulcrum, as solid as industrial steel, be taking shape as ineluctably as sea water turning into rain. The other world has to be real. Oh well.
Now we have passed through Tortola and Virgin Gorda, the bliss of coral sand and aquamarine the Caribbean sells. On an isolated beach across the sound from Richard Branson's private island, I rushed into the surf, which constantly renewed its clarity. Tallulah and I roamed the beach, finding shampoo bottles and shoes obscured by vegetation at the high tide mark.
Sea Wolf is back in Moorea, still for sale, and we've had the good luck to become custodians of a Bahamian ketch, a former charter boat 45 feet long and 14 feet wide. Headroom.
At the moment, and likely for months to come, we are anchored in a bay in Culebra next to the island's only town, called simply el pueblo, rather than the name Dewey which, unpleasant in English, was forced on this settlement by the US Marines. We've been here for two or three weeks and my knowledge is superficial. I walk past the small houses of families who might have lived on the island for a hundred years, their doors open to catch the night air, gathering words here and there, windows, or your sister, or a package of galletas, the everyday things that people say to each other and I feel the familiar longing to share in their understanding of what things mean, to be initiated so that the way the s's tumble off the ends of the words might perfectly express my own relation to the world. Tallulah used to go and stand next to people we'd encounter and look at them, waiting, as if to say, Tell me what you know. Give me your culture. I look on with the desperate irritation of unrequited love. And yet I find I have come to accept myself as bourgeois, occasionally amusing, and awkward. It fits as comfortably as anything else, one of my disguises.