Sailor’s Knot

My husband is a sailor, and sailors love knots. He owns and regularly refers to the Ashley Book of Knots, THE definitive compendium of nearly 4,000 different knots. This example is the Turk’s Head knot, where a single cord weaves over and under to make various shapes, from buttons on the end of a line to this lovely bracelet. He made a purple one for our daughter, and she wears hers constantly. (She only took it off once, a year ago, because it didn’t go with her wedding dress.) I tell him it’s the sailor’s version of crochet, which is also a single line twisted around itself to make complex shapes. I don’t think he’s convinced.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Twisted

Lines and Rope

See all those lines there, hanging on the wall of the shed? Those are rope, but they are not “ropes.” Really.

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is an avid sailor, so I’ve learned most of the associated lingo. I can not only tell port from starboard, I can tell a ketch from a yawl, a dock from a slip, a map from a chart, and topsides from decks. Today’s post is about a fun distinction: rope vs. line.

In the boating world, rope is a material lines can be made from. When you cut a length of rope and apply it to some purpose, then it’s not a rope, it’s a line. It’s kind of like the word “wood.” Wood is a material you can make things out of, including planks. A plank is a piece of wood and it’s made of wood, but it’s not a wood. In the same way, for boaters a line is a piece of rope and it’s made of rope, but it’s not a rope. On our boat we have some lines that are rope (such as the halyards and sheets used to control the sails) and others that are wire (such as the guys and stays holding up the mast). So what’s hanging there on the shed, coiled and ready to go, are lines that are made of rope.

This moment of obscure word lore is brought to you by the boating community, who wants you to know that it’s possible to go someplace slowly and uncomfortably and love every minute of it.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Lines


My Cozy Corner

Isn’t this nice? This is where I’m usually found when my husband is out sailing (and you can just make out his boat above the chair in this image). The marina where we keep the boat sets up this gazebo each year, and I sit there in the shade, enjoying the view and the breeze, with my book and laptop and iced tea, and it’s wonderful. Sadly, this year they never put the gazebo in place, because the water level in Lake Ontario is so outrageously high that the ground never firmed up enough. I spent hubby’s sailing time either in the car or in the marina office, but neither spot is as comfy as the gazebo. I’m looking forward to settling back into gazebo bliss next year, though.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Corner

Alone, Not Lonely


I’m an introverted person. That doesn’t mean I don’t like people or enjoy being around them. Social interaction drains my psychic batteries, though, and I need some time alone to recharge. One way I get that time is sitting in the gazebo at the marina while my husband is out on the lake. You can just make out his sailboat in the distance, above the chair. I love the gazebo, with comfy chairs, screening to keep out the bugs but let in the breeze, and a view of the bay. Mostly I love that I have it all to myself. I read, write, catch up on work, or just sip iced tea and watch the sky and the water. I wish everyone else the joy of such a place to go to, where the soul can unfold.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Solitude

Sailing, D&D, and Writing: Two Analogies that can Help with Action – Wednesday Words

I have trouble writing action sequences. Scenes that positively glitter with excitement and portent in my mind sometimes elicit nothing from readers beyond question marks. I’m getting better, though. Here are two analogies and two concrete steps that have helped me write stronger action.

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Connections: Four Ways Sailing is Like Writing #photochallenge

RiggingA boat under sail is a lovely thing: the white sails against the blue of the sky, slipping through the water quietly and surely. My husband is an avid sailor, so we spend weekends on our 35-foot sloop on Lake Ontario, and one thing I’ve learned is that there’s a LOT of complicated rigging going on behind the pretty sails, some of which you can see in this picture. As I took it I realized that there are lessons to be learned from the art of sailing that I can apply to my writing, so that my stories leap ahead and don’t founder. Here are four of these lessons. Continue reading