Friday, August 24, 2007

Writing and Not-Writing on the QE2

Here is Part III in my mid-ocean writing crisis. Click to Part I and then scroll forward in time to read from the beginning.

Heavy seas woke us in the night, the room swinging. In the morning: a touch of seasickness, a staggering sweaty moment in the stairwell on the way to breakfast. I bought a pair of those little wristbands that are supposed to help. They did.

Then to a lecture on Wales, the country that is the theme of this crossing. Welsh historian Dr. Geraint Jenkins talked about how the people of Wales were for years not allowed speak their own language: they had English forced on them, and then began to adopt that foreign language. And yet, he said, they remained themselves. "We have our own personality and our own character ...Wales has still clung on." The Welsh have begun to reclaim their language.

...Which surely is what I am doing in my writing. I'm troubled, though, that I don't seem to have any choice in the matter. It is happening, no matter what I do.

Captain on the loudspeaker: we've traveled 644 miles since yesterday, passing the southernmost limits of the ice fields. "The QE2 will be steaming safely clear of the ice throughout the afternoon."
On a tour of the ship's galley, I met a novelist who intends to finish his new book on this six-day voyage. Peter Joseph--dark, intense, with typed pages protruding from his hip pocket. His novel is about Matisse's crossing these same waters on the Mauretania, titled Matisse in Deep Water. The QE2 is rich with good details for his story. "Are you a Southerner?" he asked, as we compared book notes. "Your accent is smothered," he said, "but it's still there."


Heather (errantdreams) said...

Again, lovely evocative details. Looking forward to more!

Peggy said...

Thanks for joining me on this cruise, Heather.

Priscilla Palmer said...

You have been added to The Personal Development List. Please create a post and add your favorite personal development bloggers.

debra Whaley said...

Hi Peggy,

I am very happy that I found your blog. I really enjoy your writing style, and so, reading about your cruise has left me waiting for more!

I am leaving for RLP on Sat. and I will be taking you with me in "spirit". I am bring Revelation with me to savor during my quiet time. I purchased it on Ebay, but decided that I had to save it for my trip. It will be almost like, but not NEARLY as wonderful, as having you there! Sure you can't squeeze in an impromptu workshop for next week?

I am glad that you are yielding to your less conventional side! That's something that we all need to do a lot more of.


Peggy said...

Thanks, Priscilla and Debra. Debra, I hope you have a lovely time at Rancho. Reminds me to call and schedule my teaching week there next year. And Priscilla, I love being on your list, and will say more about this later. For others, the list she refers to is terrific, and you can find it at

Dick said...

Peggy, to get a feel for Wales, you probably have already looked at some of their folk songs, especially All Through the Night, and Men of Harlech. You have the facility to translate that feeling into English

Peggy said...

I'm not sure I've heard those particular songs, Dick. But I do have two CDs of Welsh men's choirs that are marvelous, very emotionally evocative. One is the Treorchy Men's Choir. I'm flattered you think I could tranlate those songs.