Where Books Meet Boats: No Such Thing as “Chore”

A few weekends ago, while scraping old varnish out from under Matsya’s mast track (a time-consuming task that should be done annually), I realized another linking truth between boats and books: for a long-term stint in either world, you have to enjoy the process. So much more time is spent working on boats (at least old wooden ones) than actually sailing them, just as so much more time is spent writing books than actually reading them. Both are realities learned the hard way, simply impossible to explain to either the starry-eyed boat buyer or aspiring novelist: there are no “chores,” only tasks that—eventually—provide their own reward.

But why should I try to explain this basic truth? A writer who doesn’t enjoy the day to day grind of turning inspiration into a shareable story probably won’t ever become an author. And even sailors who sub out the pre-launch rituals of boat ownership will still have plenty of grunt work to do just getting off the mooring. (For one thing, they might find that pulling up their mainsail is harder than expected—especially if nobody remembered to lube that mast track.)

June is the month of pure potential, which means as much time playing on the water and away from my desk as work permits. Now that the Star book project has gone to the printer, I’m determined to get back to my WIP—so I’m going to strive for balance between writing and sailing.

Either way, I’ll try to remember that there are no chores. Boating adventures will spark more inspired writing; so will this newfound knowledge, that enjoying the pure potential of hard work is a definite commonality. And on the many foggy writing mornings when I can’t really see where putting words on the page will eventually lead, the afternoon’s sailing might just be its own reward. Especially when, without any real effort, I can so easily hoist Matsya’s mainsail.