29 May 2014

Ocean Kayaking, Writing, and the Occasional Need to Hurl

Writing is work, we all know that. But writing is also akin to kayaking. Let me explain...

May 11 2014, yours truly and the husband took the newly graduated son on what was supposed to be a kayaking/snorkeling tour in La Jolla Cove. I should have paid attention when the nice gal who checked us in said, "We've had to cancel the snorkeling portion because the water is a bit too rough. Would you still want to kayak?" 

Heck, there was a family with a six-year-old going, I couldn't very well chicken out, could I? As when beginning my writing endeavors, I had no idea what might be ahead. I enthusiastically agreed to continue.

People warn you. "Writing is hard." We were warned: "The swells are three to four feet and getting larger."  
Pah! I can handle that! How hard can it be?
Let me preface this story with a bit of background. My son loves being by the sea. But he's four for four when it comes to getting on a boat and suffering seasickness. As we were waiting to get outfitted for our adventure, he decided he needed to eat a sandwich. 
Me: Are you sure that's a good idea, honey?
Him: Oh yeah, I'm starving.
Me: Mmmk...
  Soon we were decked out in wetsuits, lifevests, and helmets. The Go-Pro camera was mounted on my son's helmet, so what you see in the video is his POV. A short walk got us to the beach where the kayaks and guides waited. After instruction on how to paddle and how to get back in if you fall out, we headed into the surf. 
As with writing, at first it seems pretty easy, gliding along. You have people behind you, pushing, and a guide or two ahead, waiting for you to reach their level. Then you're suddenly on your own, facing a bit of resistance as the first wave comes at you. Hurrah! You're through! Each wave, each hurdle grows. It takes more effort, harder work, to get through each one. 

The big wave at about the 2:28 mark in this video took me down.


I'd almost cleared the crest when the curl came over and flipped my kayak. I tumbled out and felt the initial sense of panic, trying to figure out which way was up. Every time I came up for air, another wave smashed over my head. I gulped a gallon of seawater--YUCK. The realization finally dawned that if I just relaxed, the waves would shove me right back to shore. When I did, the life vest popped me to the surface and at last got a good breath. But I never let go of my paddle, by Jove! 

One of the tour workers had run out into the surf, snagged my kayak, and worked his way out to where I was able to get to my feet to stand. By then I was determined I was going to get right back out there, so I hefted my big fat butt up, flopped into the kayak like a walrus--just as they'd told us to do--and paddled back out. This time, I made it to the deeper, relatively calmer area where everyone else waited. 

Luckily, the SD card for the camera had filled before seasickness overwhelmed my son and the  sandwich he'd scarfed (and more) hurled into the sea for the fishies. Luckily for me, we were nearly finished with the tour before all that saltwater I'd swallowed and the motion of the ever-increasing waves suddenly hit my stomach and I paid homage to Poseidon as well.

How is that akin to writing? Well, sometimes you're going along, thinking you're doing fine and you suddenly realize something just isn't right. You feel the need and soon... MUST. HURL. NOW. When you do, as soon as you get that yukky stuff out, everything seems much, much better. You can finish with a clearer head and enjoy the remainder of the experience.

As a final note, let me recommend that you still save whatever you cut from a writing project or manuscript. With time, life experience, and continuing craft skills, you will see it from a different perspective and possibly find something worth using in a different way. Maybe yes, maybe no, but it's worth a shot. Just like trying anything new, it's worth the effort.

Happy writing - and kayaking!


  1. Hahahaha! I love you! I just love you! Yes, although I've never done such an activity, it does sound a lot like writing.. and now, I will think of your son's sandwich if I ever end up gulping a big mouthful of seawater.. Ehhhhh.

  2. HA HA HA HA! You're welcome. ;)