Archive for August, 2014


Her Fury

This weekend, for want of something better to do I sat and watched surfing. I must have skipped past the channel in my quest for something entertaining that wasn’t reality t.v. Honestly, trying to watch television today is like wading through muck with flip-flops. I gave up and finally settled down to watch grown men tackle the one woman they could never really conquer.

I have a pathological fear of the sea. My dreams have been plagued with walls of water approaching, threatening life and limb. I once thought if I learned to swim then I could overcome this fear. Hah! Fat chance! I paid for the lessons but spent most of the class cowering and whimpering in a corner of the pool where I could easily cling to the bars and so keep myself from drowning….in my own fear. I justified my cowardice with the fact that I’m only 5′ 5″ and they put me in water that was five feet deep. Really? I loved the baby pool though. I can swim in three feet of water, start me off that way.

There’s something about water, well any element actually. It’s unconscionable and uncontrollable. There’s also something beguiling and comforting about water. She can be seductive and vindictive all at once. I find myself drawn to her beauty and repelled all at the same time. Recorded images of the 2004 and 2011 tsunamis still haunt me. I could never imagine how it must have felt as that wave came thundering towards them. I fly into a panic whenever I see fast flowing water. Then you see those surfers who frolic amongst walls of water that would give me a heart attack in installments.

This weekend I watched as the surfers tumbled and crashed into the waves. I’d like to know how many millilitres of adrenaline were being released into their bloodstream during that activity. And if that wasn’t enough, I went onto YouTube to hunt down more videos of waves.

You’ve got people who are drawn to fire, those who chase the wind, those who study the earth and then there are people like me who have come too close to being swallowed up and spat out by the sea. As a human being, there are many things in this life to be afraid of, but never have I felt fear such as this. For me there is nothing more terrifying than gasping and clawing for air as your own frantic heartbeats are magnified by the volume of water crashing over you. There’s nothing to grab on to except the very water that slips through your fingers. Salt water burns like hell when it is forced down your throat and nose.

It’s like a game that she plays with you. Each time you gain firm ground she creeps up behind you and pulls you back. If the sea could be painted as woman, I envision her laughing as she tosses the hapless human about, eyes sparkling at the joy of her own power.

People have asked me if I can swim and when I say that I can’t they look confused. “But you lived on an island.” They would say. “Yes, but I lived on land, not in the water.” I would retort.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the sea but only when there are no waves at all. Only when the water is as flat as a table, then and only then will I go near. I was a regular beach bug when I was a kid, water did not frighten me much then.

There’s a poem that I had written when I was younger . Again for want of something better to do, I wrote about an experience at the beach in the hope that I could push past it. But it looks like I haven’t.

 

 

Her Fury

 

I sat upon the shore one day

And looked across at her and

Wondered how it could be

That one with such calm and beauty

Could possess such fury.

 

I sat upon the shore that day

As I watched her foam and fret

Lashing and thrashing away

At the rocky sentinels

Which guarded her.

 

There was once a time when I skipped

Happily into her voluminous midst

Unaware of a treachery beneath

A beguiling surface.

 

She took a deep breath

Sucking me in like paper into

A vortex of rage

And then she let it out,

Wave upon wave of unbridled cruelty

Madness had come over her.

 

Her fury kept me down

And we struggled,

SHE, For supremacy,

I, For what was mine.

 

And then,

Clawing, crawling and gasping,

I coaxed the bruised

And battered shell of myself

Towards firmer ground

Praying that my retreat

Would signal defeat

and she would leave me be.

 

With one last act of

vindictiveness

Her foamy fingers pushed me forward

And like driftwood

I floated towards shore.

 

As I gaze from upon the shore this day,

I wonder,

How one blessed with such beauty

Could be cursed with such fury.

 

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Marking Time

Seven years ago I left my home in Trinidad and immigrated to Canada. I never thought I’d do something so bold. I never thought I’d leave my comfort zone, my safety net and my support system behind. I wanted to be a writer. I still want to be a writer, hence the blog. It’s been a little over seven years from the day I set foot on Canadian soil and I’m sitting and wondering where did it all go? I feel as if I’m nowhere closer to what I want. Or perhaps I am and I don’t know it yet. How far I have come from the original path I had set myself.

It was all planned out. I did very well at university. I had a job that paid extremely well and my status in society was confirmed. I was going places. In ten years I would have gotten my PhD and applied for a position as a professor in the same university I would have attended. So what made me change my mind? What made me turn another corner when I was on a straight road and the finish line was just ahead?

A restless child I always was. There was nothing that didn’t interest me. As long as that subject could provide a door out of my safe but humdrum life, I would be interested. My father used to find these books on the side of the street. One day he came home and in the trunk of the car there was an old suitcase and in it there were books. There were so many the suitcase could hardly close properly. To my astonishment many of these were new, like they hadn’t been used yet. The price tags were still on them.

“Who on earth would throw out new books?” I squealed with delight as some of these books became much sought after treasures, after all, my school had provided me with a lengthy book list for the upcoming school term and those books did not come cheap. It never mattered to me if they were tattered and torn, they became auxiliary reading material that I relished regardless of the topic.

I remember one time during an English test. The teacher was passing out the exam papers and I couldn’t wait. When we were instructed to turn over the paper I noticed that ALL of the sections were taken out of books I had read, those same books that my father picked up off the side of the street. Tattered and torn as they were, I read the comprehension passages and answered all the questions simply because I needed something to do. I tried my best to drag out the exam for the hour and a half allotted, but I couldn’t. I finished in twenty minutes. It wasn’t cheating. Technically I had done the exam over and over in my mind. One might call it luck.

Anyway, I digress, but the abovementioned is a memory I carry with me always just to remind myself that one man’s rubbish can be another man’s treasure.

Here I am in Canada and even though I’m inching my way towards a career as a writer, I find myself swimming in self-doubt. Even this blog takes a lot of effort. It’s been three almost four weeks since I’ve posted anything and it’s not for want of anything to write, it’s more of, “why am I writing this?” “what purpose will this serve?”

I should have started this blog from the time I landed in Canada, perhaps I would have had more purpose – or perhaps not. I still don’t know if Canada is the right place for me. Sometimes I feel as if I’m where I’m supposed to be and sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice. The temptation to turn back is great but the motivation to go forward is even greater. I’m at war with myself and I don’t see an end in sight. Someone told me, time will tell and everything happens for a reason. Well, I’m still waiting for that reason and I’m still waiting for time to tell me the truth.

David Gaughran

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