Monday, February 18, 2013

Good Friday
By Michael

In The Tale of the Unknown Island,
Jose Saramago writes about boats:
"Liking is probably the best form of
ownership, and ownership the worst
form of liking." I sure like Del Viento.
This past Friday I received two prizes for my writing on this blog.

Boating Writers International (BWI) is an, “organization of writers, editors, publishers, photographers, broadcasters, public relations specialists and others in the communications profession associated with the boating industry.” For twenty years they’ve held an annual writing contest for members in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The group awards $17,000, split among 51 articles (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in 17 categories) published online and in boating magazines. Four judges (writers and editors) review and score the entries in each category blindly—author and publication names are blacked out.

I was recognized for both my submissions (click here for a list of all the winning entries):
Writing original stories on a regular basis is work. I spend a lot of time writing and re-writing paragraphs until the post is clear and interesting. Then the hard part begins.

Windy is an outstanding editor, often catching all kinds of errors of omission and things that don’t make sense. But she also often sends me back to the drawing board with hyperbole that’s maddening to my literal mindset.

“It could be much shorter, one-third the length.”—(What? How can you just say 66% of the words have to disappear?)
And she’ll go at my text with a hatchet instead of the scalpel it deserves.

“Delete this paragraph.”—(And what happens to that thought, it’s central to this post…?)
Do you remember that scene in Heller’s Catch 22 in which Yossarian (charged with reviewing soldiers’ outgoing correspondence and redacting sensitive info) turns it into a game and sends letters to anxious families on the home front in which everything but pronouns or adjectives is obscured? That’s what it’s like around here when I mention Windy in something I write for the blog. And her reaction to the first draft of this post?

“Obviously I don't like this post.”—(I know, I know…)
It’s always frustrating, but the feedback and the process are helpful to me as a writer. And the effort feels good. And I really enjoy collaborating with my wife.

Thanks for reading.


What do girls who live on boats play with?
Houses--until the swan comes by.


  1. Congrats on your awards! You should indeed be proud of your work. I am impressed that you and Windy can collaborate together on your writing and still be on speaking terms. Mark will read my writing and offer up such helpful things as "Far too long. Just tell them what the problem was and what our solution is without your wandering". I tell him that A: wandering is what I do best and B: If you want straight forward read Calder. I am not Calder. I have better hair. ;) Congrats again!

    1. Gracias! It is the same here, I tend to go on and on and she always wants it shorter and sweeter. I may be contacting you soon for an interview about your head removal project...

  2. Yes, congratulations! Are you rich now? B-)

    Now, with all that editing, the opinions and comments are all still yours, right? (And how is your relationship with Canada doing....?)

    1. Oh yeah, I do all the writing on all my posts, but Windy's feedback is invaluable--even when frustrating. Canada is still lovely, but still expensive (we've still got Mexico prices in our heads). The $500 award money will go very quickly. Are you guys headed south in the fall? You will love it. We'll be right behind you--planning to head back to Mexico after we head north this summer.

  3. Congrats on affirmations of your prose. Doug and I flew to PV before Christmas, to check on Cactus Tree. We plan to move CT north this summer after Doug completes his current assignment. Tell the girls I was happy to kayak in Bucerias. Cat

  4. Congratulations Mike! That's great. (And kuddos to your editor too.) Kind of like the backstage person to the actor. Both valuable. Interdependent. Keep writing! The Nyon crew


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