What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? #WritersLife


Picked up poet Mary Oliver‘s question via LinkedIn this morning, and it very much resonates with what’s going on in my life at the moment. Well, not just mine but Angie’s as well. We’ve been pottering around looking at lots to build a house on, and finding that everything eventually devolves to suburbia. The whole work-eat-sleep-mortgage thing, which we’ve already done. So why on earth are we planning to anchor ourselves down to a plot of land for the rest of our useful lives? Nail ourselves to one location? Chain our souls to real estate? Go down the suburban road once more? Do the networking thing? Cultivate contacts to further our ‘careers’? Sell our souls to the machine again? We’re both over fifty and pretty active, I don’t see the point.

Would we do it for Laura and Jo? Not really, they’re all grown up and making their own lives half way around the world. As for me, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, if there were a club especially for people like me, I wouldn’t let me in. I’m not a social animal. The Bear is my totem.

So after drifting around plots and lots with various enchanting views, we ended up in the Genoa Bay Marina Espresso Bar down past Duncan. Down at the end of one floating jetty was a 60′ Gin Palace, registered in Edmonton, Alberta of all places. A gleaming monstrosity of fibreglass and stainless steel. Very palatial. A million bucks worth straight out of the yards. Beautiful lines. It looked fast and graceful, even just moored at the floating dock gathering algae next to all the houseboats.

All of a sudden, Angie gets all upset, which bothered me as it was a gorgeous day and we hadn’t a care, apart from looking at various interminable building sites. She confessed to me that this whole looking for houses process was making her unhappy, and she didn’t want to do it any more. She expressed a wish to live on a boat and cruise the coast and gulf islands for the next ten or twenty years. So as we wound through endless Canadian suburbia, we talked it over. I expressed surprise as Angie tends to suffer from motion sickness, and her on a boat? To be honest I never even thought about it as a life option. She said no, she was willing to give it a try. Life on the water. We joked about her having a ‘mid-life crisis’, well why not? Without crisis and adventure, life is dull, dull, mind strangling routine. The morass of souls, the slough of despond, a round of endless quiet desperation.

I reflected that some of my early years were spent playing around on British canals on cabin cruisers. This brought up memories like being at the wheel of a fishing boat following a gyrocompass bearing back into Looe after a days deep sea fishing out near Eddystone. Force four south westerly freshening to six. Dirty green sea under grey skies, bucking the restless horse of a Lochin 38 Hulled fishing boat at fourteen knots. Five foot swells slamming at the bows. Slewed at twenty degrees from the line of travel in the cross wind.

I have my BC pleasure craft license, know the basics about R/T drills and have a modest understanding of basic seamanship. Angie is a quick learner, and both sides of the family have more than a little salt water in their veins, so why not? We don’t really ‘belong’ anywhere, and would only be stifled by life in one place, regardless of how nice the views or people are.

The sheer chutzpah appeals. The thought of Island hopping, following the weather around the world while working online has a certain appeal. Phoning the kids from Southampton or some other locale. “Hi love, fancy a weekend off?” Hire cars when need arises, not buy them. Move our money around the globe, spread the risk, take a chance. I have more than a couple of ideas about that. Yes, so we’re having a radical rethink about how we live our lives, and today we are going to talk to boat brokers.

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Martyn K Jones

A writer who first trained as an Electrical Engineer, then fulfilled various roles within the computing industry. First published in 'SuperBike' magazine, 1978 under the pseudonym Harry Matthews. Since then has written and had published a wide variety of work; from PR copy in trade magazines to supernatural short stories and the occasional satirical article. Emigrated to Canada in 2007. Became a Canadian Citizen December 2014. Now branching out as a serious science fiction novelist.

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3 thoughts on “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? #WritersLife”

  1. I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your website?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little
    more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures.

    Maybe you could space it out better?

    1. I’m open to reasonable suggestions. If there’s a (Free) WordPress template out there that communicates better, I’d be more than happy to hear about it. As for graphics, I’m not that talented.

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