Linda Leinen aboard Alaska Eagle, Newport Beach, California
Sharing stories, trading secrets, weaving new realities of threads pulled from discarded memories or long forgotten dreams – those are the tasks of a new writer, dedicated to new endeavors.
Living a quiet and hidden life, anchored to my dock like a barnacle to a piling, I varnish boats on the Texas Gulf Coast. My dock provides both things Virginia Woolf recommended for a woman who writes: money, from the labor, and a room of my own – space and solitude for thought, remembrance, and creative reflection on the truths and mysteries of life.
With years of life and lifetimes-full of experiences behind me, there are days when images and words come tumbling along the edge of memory’s winds like so many scudding clouds. Living and working in West Africa, an academic life in Berkeley, open-ocean sailing and the joys of teaching have all shaped my life, and influenced my convictions.
Now, with the sense of yet one more sea-change arriving, I remember the words of a favorite artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. Quoted in Joan Didion’s White Album, she says, “Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant… It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”
As I begin shaping stories and sharing convictions in these pages, it is my hope that what I do with where I have been will be of interest – both process and product alike.
Basic Life Choices
Sweet or Salty? Salty
Compass or Map? Compass
Morning or Night? Night
Ocean or Mountains? Mountains
Both/And or Either/Or? Both/And
Freeway or Back Road? Back Road
Artists: Georgia O’Keefe, John William Waterhouse, Debbie Little-Wilson
Books: Lawrence Durrell, The Alexandria Quartet; Loren Eiseley, The Star Thrower; Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country; Beryl Markham, West With the Night
Building: The Flatiron Building, New York City
Songs: The Star of the County Down, Orinoco Flow, Jig Cajun, Bread and Roses, La Vie Dansant, Roll Me Away
Musical Forms and Periods: Baroque, Blues, Cajun & Zydeco, Medieval Carols & Gregorian Chant
Architectural Style & Architects: Craftsman – Stickley & Wright
Weather Phenomenon: Fog
Question: How Can I?
Sport: Good conversation
Literary Form: Essays & Letters
Place to be: A hundred miles from anywhere
Current Favorite Quotations
“A genuine man goes to the roots. To be a radical is no more than that: to go to the roots. He who does not see things in their depth should not call himself a radical.” ~ Jose Marti, Cuban Statesman, Poet and Journalist (1853-1895)
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ~ attributed to John Muir, Naturalist (1838-1914)
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” ~ original quotation by John Muir, Naturalist (1838-1914)
“To achieve great things, two things are needed ~ a plan, and not quite enough time.” ~ Leonard Bernstein
“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
“It is the essayist’s task to say, “This is what I have seen. This is what I have experienced. This is what I have discovered lying along life’s shore, waiting to be plucked from the sands of obscurity, turned and examined, magnified for detail, polished until its inherent nature shimmers in the light.” ~ me
“What difference does it make if you live in a picturesque little outhouse surrounded by 300 feeble minded goats and your faithful dog? The question is: Can you write?” ~ Ernest Hemingway
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Obscurity and a competence—that is the life that is best worth living. ~ Mark Twain