As you might imagine, the best part of my job involves looking at and thinking about boats. The frustrating part of my job is I get to do that much less than you might imagine because a desk job is a desk job is a desk job. I wind up thinking about serial commas, ledes, contracts and invoices, covers, writer assignments, photo searches and lower back pain much more than I do boats, alas. And yet each month the smoldering ember that drives the whole process forward is a shared obsession with the world of watercraft: How can we create a well-balanced, beautiful, authoritative magazine that you will love, on budget and on deadline? Well, we like a challenge, and luckily, we never lack for ideas.
It’s April, the month I long for each year more than any other. The first crocuses, daffodils and forsythia are doing their annual interpretive dances as David, waging small but bright insurrections against the Goliath of late snowfalls, muddy slush and the last of the endless gray skies.
It was kind of early for a swim, but later that day I’d be on a plane back to the loathsome winter of the Northeast. I knew I’d regret it if I missed a chance to float in the warm turquoise of the Caribbean, so I roused myself, shaking off my natural laziness, stoked to its peak by the sun’s hypnotic whisper to just relax. Why, oh why didn’t I listen?
Writing a monthly column has its challenges, though they’re not what you might think. It’s true that a good topic can be temporarily elusive, but a very early wake-up call summons a patch of quiet time and space to think. Deadline pressure and strong coffee usually does the rest. (If I don’t have more than a dozen good ideas buried somewhere in my subconscious after four decades of living, I haven’t been living right.) No, the hard part is timing.
I stopped by the boatyard today — for that least-rewarding ritual of boat ownership, paying the bill — but the inevitable pain of the moment was (mostly) assuaged by a visit to my boat. There she was, on jackstands, newly hauled and not yet shrink-wrapped. It was late in the day, and the wintry sunlight (golden but cold) glinted off her pale blue hull. She looked good — a little lonely and bereft of purpose, but good. All in all, she struck me as “resting up” for next season’s adventures, but of course, I may have been projecting.
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