One Hundred Ways to Describe Water and Regular Dreams of Death
1 March 2021

658 days ago, on a brief furlough between ships, I ran alongside the Welland Canal in Southern Ontario.  It was a sunny day, one of the first warm days that spring.  It felt good, not all runs do.  As I ran, I was playing with words in my head.  When I returned I discoverd my Garmin watch had failed to log the distance, so this 16km would not be noted or added to the kilometers I had already run that month.  

A devastating turn of events for a runner.  

But while my kilometers had been lost, the words hadn’t, and after I showered I opened my laptop and sat at the hotel window and I wrote down these words:

“It is good to stretch ones legs ashore after 26 days at sea and the Sisyphean drudgery of daily treadmill running…”

Something must have shook loose on that run, because those words would be the first of what has proved, until now, a steady torrent.  

When I have finished this piece, the one you are reading, I will re-read it a number of times.  Rearrange paragraphs.  Move sentences.  Erase.  Edit.  

Eventually I will upload it onto my website.  I’ll pour a beer and I’ll hit publish.  

It will be the 100th piece I’ve uploaded onto my site.

It feels like a milestone worthy of acknowledgement.  Especially for me, one who has seldom seen things through, who for so many years called himself a writer but barely wrote or showed his work to anyone.  I have spent so much of my life rudderless and adrift and now suddenly and against all expectation I find myself having somehow amassed a small body of work.

I have a few ideas about what has spawned this burst of creativity.  

Since an accident I was involved in 4 years ago, a very close call,  I have had regular dreams of dying and death and I realized I wanted my legacy to be more than just being the guy who liked to party his tits off. 

I was also going through a phase in my life where I was increasingly dissastisfied.  Un-jazzed with living.  I was fresh in my forties and I worked at jobs where I could complete my work efficiently but for which I have and had no innate talent, jobs that I felt I was not put on this earth to do.  

Through running and sailing and writing about the wonderful nature I see, I was effectively able to re-evaluate the things that I love about this life and the world, despite all the misery there is, and the carnage that surrounds us.  I was finally able to meaningfully indulge my love of words and how they are arranged on a page, sometimes intentionally and with much premeditation or sometimes just by happy accident.  I have described the sea and the sky and their various moods, a hundred times or more.  

And yet, what a damn fool notion it is to write things down!  But something compells me to do so and to then release these literary spores into the world.  I cannot assess their value myself, that’s for you to do, but there are a handful of pieces I have posted of which I am genuinely proud and this is not an easy thing to admit as I have always had difficulty acknowleding the worth of my work. 

Writing has helped me get to know myself better.  I have tried to write with 100% emotional honesty.  I have always thought that reading makes us more empthetic but I believe that writing has helped me become a better person, a kinder person, or at the very least, strive to be such.

Yesterday, I went for a run around Valletta as I have been doing most days for the last month.  It was hot and the sun was at its highest and the sea a fierce and sparkling blue and I put on my earbuds and I hit play on a playlist and straight out the gate the first song was ‘Rudy Can’t Fail’ by the Clash.  Is there a more joyous noise?  I pumped my legs and I ran, and I ran fast because thats what good music makes me do.  I leapt over parking barriers and I ran along the top of a cement wall.  And I mouthed those words, and I wagged my left index finger to emphasize them like a fucking whacked out soapbox messiah, and I did so all along the waterfront and up the hill to the Siege Bell monument.  The world is going to shit I thought, but you really can’t get much better than this.  

Writing has become like running for me.  There are good days and there are bad days and there are days when it is easy and days when it is hard but either way they’ve both become habits and thankfully habits are hard to break.

I recently discussed with my father our mutual helplessness when it comes to direction.  Our inability to navigate from A to B,  to find our way.  I explained to him that I think it is more than just stupidity.  That we actually suffer from a cognitive defect that makes us see the world differently, in the same way a dyslexic might view words. 

While my writings don’t necessarily have a direction, I feel I am on a trajectory nonetheless. I don’t know which way I’m headed but I am curious as to where I’ll end up.  

In the meantime, here’s to a hundred, and thank-you reader for coming along, for getting lost right here with me.