A Wow! Moment

One of the most gratifying aspects of publishing a new book is to hear your publisher volunteer praise for it. Sure, you say, it’s in his best interest to praise the book (and if he didn’t like it, why would he have published it?), but when you know how many other books he publishes and how exacting his standards are, you glow with pride. His words: “I had a Wow! moment  when I first saw it.” Who wouldn’t rise like a trout for “Wow!”?

No matter how many books I publish, I still nearly swoon with giddiness when the publication date nears. People have asked me if we’re going to have a book party the way we did many moons ago when A Sailor’s Valentine came out. No, but we will use it as an excuse to go out to dinner in the North End or have a lobster or sail our little catboat out on a picnic cruise, as long as we can find a day with some lighter airs. Recently the sailing has been very much on the sporty side, not necessarily conducive to offering a toast to Seaborn.

The last time we sailed the wind had to have been gusting to twenty knots with the water surface gray and shivered on top of a three-foot swell, quite wet conditions for a twelve-and-a-half foot boat.  I had two of my brothers-in-law aboard, and we beat out into the southwest wind toward Seal Rocks buoy, the rail buried and seawater crashing over the foredeck. Seal Rocks was boiling with surf, and we tacked long before we reached them considering that the farther we went out toward the open water of Buzzards Bay, the harder the wind blew and the steeper the seas. Across the bay, the sky went charcoal gray with a band of braided silver gray cloud above the distant haze of land.

Still, we sailed for about three hours, tacking back and forth within the relative protection of the inner part of the bay.  We ran back in and beat back out, keeping our eyes out for Halftide Rock, the waves gushing over our bow and soaking us with the thankfully warmish water, the wind intent on trying to seize our sail and knock us down.

I realized that I adore sailing in these conditions. I was thrilled by how well the boat responded. I was enraptured, absorbed in the second-by-second requirements of reacting to the waves and wind and the action of the boat. It helps to have two game hands aboard who can move nimbly and help with the lines (the tiller, even with the sail reefed, fought against me) and take care of the all-important beer-opening (even though the beer was half saltwater within minutes).

But it was a Wow! moment for a different sort , and maybe we’ll opt to celebrate the book’s publication even if we have to toast it with seawater in our champagne.


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