Talk of the Muse: The Atlantic Ocean

 

Last week, I wrote about how much I love Westerns. CBS Sunday Morning did a feature on the upcoming Lone Ranger movie and I was glued to my television. I can’t. freaking. wait. And yes, I’m way too young to have seen the original series, and I don’t recall seeing too many in reruns (I was an 80’s baby and a 90’s kid), but I recall the “Hi-ho Silver!” and the mask and the hat and they make me happy. I’m super pumped.

When I wrote last week’s post, I said that one of the things that attracts me to Western living is the idea of being land-locked. No ocean around. I’ve never lived more thank 200 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean means “home” for me…

I was recently on a whale watch in Boston Harbor, and while seeing the freaking whale was inspiring enough, I couldn’t help but think about the beautiful  body of water around me. If you think for a moment about what the Atlantic Ocean has seen, the history that it has witnessed, it can simply be staggering. It is the Witness Ocean, the ocean of birth, the ocean that was created by great movement but also the carrier of great movement. It remains formidable and yet so very accessible, it gives so much to us and takes just the same amount. The Atlantic Ocean is instrumental in our past, present and future. It’s an amazing body of water, one that I feel very connected to.

I’ve never written anything in a beach or ocean setting–while I absolutely love fishing and love sailing, I’ve never found reason to write a story that centrally involves marine life. This could be because the Atlantic is a place of leisure and I don’t want to mix work and play? Maybe because I have reverence for the place? Maybe it’s because as much as I love to visit, I don’t know anything about the sea-side lifestyle.

Here is what I do know–I love that body of water the way that I love the God who made it. I fear it, I’m in awe of it, I could possibly be known to worship it. It moves me. It haunts me. I don’t necessarily need to use the body of water itself in my writing, but I do need to use the feelings that it gives me in my writing. The sinking feeling I get when I think I might be caught up in a rip tide. The goosebumps I get when I smell salt in the air when I’m approaching the coast. The knot in my stomach when I think about the ancestors lost of the seas. The tear in my eye when I think of the cruelty committed and endured by those who crossed it. The flutter in my heart when I think of the history and change that it has witnessed. The pride that I feel when thinking of the battles, won and lost, upon it. The satisfaction that I feel when I face the rising morning sun and know that I am also facing it. These are the things that must become settings, characters, scenes, chapters… These are the feelings that will propel my work. 

I know that talking about the Muse as if it is an embodied thing is quite overdone and can be a bit trite. But if I could point to an earthly manifestation, the Atlantic Ocean would surely be it.

And that being said, I’m going to use this rare quiet moment to bang out a few words for a short story.

What moves you? What stirs your soul? What is the one thing on Earth that you can rely on to give you a feeling, of any kind? How do you use it in your writing?

 

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