Monday, October 20

From Bitch to Books

Having survived a bleak fire season, I welcomed fall and the changes it signifies. I could have continued to sit on a tanker base, but only because the earnings would pay the shrink I’d learn to rely upon. I greeted this season like a spoiled puppy with a bad case of separation anxiety. How dare it test my bladder for such an extended period of time.

Fall also creates a little anxiety for me. It has proven a tough transition to go from being someone else’s full-time . . . bitch (remember the puppy?), to working for myself. Last winter I penned out optimistic schedules that included hours of writing each day. Instead, I’d clean my bamboo floors three times between sunrise and sunset to abate restlessness. I conquered lesser projects with ease: cleaning the glass shelving in my fridge, alphabetizing reference books, conditioning my red leather couch, and organizing the garage. I’d do just about anything but write.

But I found the solution: take on the task of writing a book—a memoir of sorts—in 90 days. It does wonders for your priorities. Now, my place is a mess and I freak out if I can’t fit five hours of writing into a day. For a limited time only, here’s a paragraph taken from a recently completed chapter:

Significantly souring my objectivity early on was the divorce of my parents and subsequent absence of my father. My life was supposed to brim with happiness and carefree joy: mother and father living under one roof sharing their lives and the progression of their only daughter, Clydesdales frolicking in the pastures out back, the sun forever shining between harmless billowing clouds that dance overhead. Instead ours was the broken home filled with fear, tears, and pointed anger. Ours was the house where animals were sold and rarely a person witnessed. Ours was the house where witches lived. That part is true, though this witch transcended gender bias and arrived with the title “stepfather.” I’m sure I was boiled once or twice, if not physically then a doll made to be me. There were hexes and hatred and overly enthusiastic celebrations of Halloween. Shy of submerging my stepfather into his own caldron of boiling frog hearts and wart juice, excusing him as a witch was the best I could do.

I need some help—obviously—with my book. Drop a note in the comments section and educate me on what you, the reader, would like to know more about; is it the tanker industry in general, the chick behind the stick, or witches’ brew.

Saturday, October 4


As fire season draws to an end, my favorite temperate season begins. I love the fall: the crispness of the air, vibrant foliage, the comfort of donning forgotten knits, and Halloween candy. This year’s fall, however, holds a hint of spring, as if a chocolate bunny surfaced in my bag of treats.

Now, I’m not referring to spring’s weather patterns, clothing choices, or cleaning agendas. Instead, consider what spring symbolizes, its essence. Spring gives birth to everything from blossoms to farm animals. It is exciting and fresh and beautiful. In the Northwest, where I grew up, it meant waking from hibernation to take action with renewed energy. That’s what I mean.

The arrival of fall cannot be ignored. Days are shorter. Clouds linger on the horizon. Soup always sounds delicious. And everywhere you go you are surrounded by gourds. For me, it also signifies the ability to set my flight helmet aside, and the luxury of silencing my cell phone at night. Yep! that unfamiliar freedom I associate with fall has returned.

Instead of hunkering down this year—in anticipation for winter—my engine revs. It’s like a rush one might feel after escaping from prison. My surroundings feel foreign in a way that makes me pay attention to details, a way that allows gratitude to permeate any situation. A number of tanker bases this year felt like prison—if only for 9 to 14 hours of each 24. In a matter of days, I will have moved beyond the preparation phase and have scaled the walls, free to nurture the flowers that exist beyond entrapment.

Perhaps I am not alone. Perhaps you have morphed your seasons too. Please share in the comments section below if you have found spring in your step this fall.

May we each find our golden egg this season.