Title: The Ocean
Subtext: Time and again.
Date: 17 Aug 14 (Sunday in the AM)
Time: 1 minute
Replies: 36
Revisions: 6
Publicity: Superfeed

From above, he was not even a speck. A nano-speck, indistinguishable from the iridescent plane of blue-green sea.

There had been an accident. He had found refuge in a rubber vessel with scant supplies and floated within on the whims of currents and crosswinds. At first he had been distraught – for the end of his life, the lives of his shipmates, the loss of friends and family. Then pain replaced sadness. Then there was anguish. And then misery. He bobbed along aimlessly, tormented by the sea and the sun. Death, he knew, was not far off.

And then something happened. A small turning over of some lever or switch in the mind, a mechanism not used much since the invention of rubber vessels and emergency supplies. Mired by the constructs of life he would be no more. He jumped ship. He swam for it. He did not decide to do it, he just did. And he swam a bee line through currents and crosswinds. And he braved without thought the attempts to devour him by a hundred sea monsters. And when the entire ocean conspired to suffocate him, he fought it off with all of his might. Some cosmic entity, it seemed, was intent on robbing him of his only treasure – his next breath. And so he used every next breath to secure the following one, and pursued his mindless goal through the chop and claw of the wine-dark sea.

And finally he made it. He pulled himself up onto the strand, his body a misshapen slab of driftwood, his mind a tangle of razor wire. He took a look around at dry land, hospitable to his uses, where he might settle and live out his life in peace.

And then something happened again. He turned back from the land and took once again to the hostile waters, becoming once more a nano-speck, indistinguishable from the iridescent plane of blue-green sea.


Bear » Authorship
Elk » 11:09 AM 05 Nov 15
Elk » 11:07 AM 05 Nov 15
Elk » 9:27 PM 18 Nov 14
Elk » 9:26 PM 18 Nov 14
Elk » 12:06 PM 17 Aug 14

The Thread (36)

 Author's voice in grey. 

  1. Read The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor and then Life of Pi — back to back — and learn how easy it is to make millions by borrowing big. I did this happenstance while researching open ocean struggle and was a bit taken aback by the sometimes word for word parallels.

  2. Read the Marquez piece. In fact I think I told you about it. I’m not into Pi.

  3. And of course it’s the ending here that counts.

  4. Also, read Crane’s The Open Boat.

  5. The expression “wine-dark sea” has apparently inspired many a book, blog, album and orchestral movement. But having read the Odyssey, I figured I couldn’t find any usage going further back than Homer’s Book 5:

    And if some god should strike me, out on the wine-dark sea, I will endure it, owning a heart within inured to suffering.

    Now, “blue-green sea?” That’s going take wading through a lot more material. I did find this, however.

  6. I was reading that yesterday.

  7. Part of the intent here is to show age-old struggle. Thus the Homer reference.

  8. Sisyphean, but with an ocean instead of a rock.

  9. Right. From Camus:

    I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

  10. “Wine-dark,” by the way, appears in the Iliad, predating Book 5 of the Odyssey.

  11. Good call on “wine-dark.” All translation aside, I do wonder what the expression was that Homer used himself.

    As far as Sisyphus goes, I definitely imagine him happy.

  12. I’m looking for the word. Happy? Fulfilled? Actualized?

    I’m drawn to the latter – the transfer of the potential to the kinetic. That process which brings a man even in great turmoil, which Sisyphus no doubt was, a sense of well-being. It’s happiness, but of a certain unusual type.

  13. By the way, this from Mr. John Henry Bonham:

    We’ve done four already but now we’re steady and then they went one, two, three, four.

  14. “Beiant beiant dahn neh nient.” You know the the riff.

  15. That’s gotta be the most difficult transcription in all of language — Zeppelin instrumental to English. You did well. I’d have gone with “dant dan dena dwawnt.”

  16. I get yours. I think mix of the two would suffice.

  17. If Sisyphus has that riff in his mind just as he lays his shoulder into that boulder, I might reconsider and go with happy. What could be better than fruitless labor set to a good tune?

  18. I’d dig ditches to Zeppelin — come to think of it, I have.

  19. Name that tune:

    / Beh neh neh neh neh
    \ Neah nah neh nah neh neah
    / Beh neh neh neh neh
    \ Neah nah neh neahhhh


  20. Black Dog?

  21. Ehhhnnt!

    That, I guess, is how you write the sound of the “time’s up” or “wrong” buzzer. Not nearly as annoying in writing as it is to hear somebody do it, by the way.

  22. It could be. Try it.

  23. I mean the song.

  24. I mean the written buzzer.

  25. Not bad (Black Dog). But click here and just wait (or skip to 1:45 if you don’t have the proper patience). One of the best call/response guitar lyrics I know.

  26. You want call/response? Check out Page and Plant at 3:00 – epic discussion.

  27. . . . the mind of the man of The Ocean as he goes down for the last . . .

  28. @bear — Do we need to consider why the sea begins and ends as blue-green but is wine-dark in between?

  29. Squid can change color with mood. Why can’t a story?

    Also, as I said before, I was really just wanting to give it the epic feel. Thus the Homeric reference.

    I would also postulate that “wine-dark” doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with color, but with light and atmospheric conditions.

    Finally, it’s not a piece intended as realism.

    So, no.

  30. Do the squid themselves change color or do they change the color we see them as?

    For what it’s worth, people also change color with mood.

  31. I hear that — and assumed as much, which is why I asked. I want to be sure the switch is consistent with something, and not just a mere oversight. If wine-dark matches the mood there, and blue-green matches it elsewhere, that’s something. Does it match like that? And if not perfectly so, let’s give the screw another half a twist.

  32. Not every little part of every story should be reasoned into place. A little mismatch here and there can be a good thing.

  33. Do the squid themselves change color or do they change the color we see them as?

    I’m not sure. Is there a difference?

    Or are you asking if squid can physically change how our vision functions?

    Apparently squid are equipped with little blotches of color on their skin (if skin is the proper term) that they can expand and contract at will.

    If will is the proper term.

  34. I’ll give you one more bit of reasoning (despite my stance on reason) on “wine-dark” – the first and last instances, where “blue-green” is used, is meant to be seen from bird’s eye view, and is somewhat more pleasant. When the character is in the water, it’s less so.

  35. I like that. Check out my experience – that the use of “blue-green” in the first and third instances of color is a reference to the time of day, i.e. daytime, whereas the use of “wine-dark” evidences a night scene.

  36. On squid — that they might change the color we see them as is the universe I’m living in.

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