The Man and the Sea

Determined to explore the youtube angle further, I have been to the high street of the little Danish village where I am holed up having secured a room of my own to concentrate and write. So far I have ‘done’ by means of shopping – I have bought drawing utensils suddenly overcome be an urge to learn how to draw maps. Probably set off by Oliver Morton’s Mapping Mars which I leafed through this morning. Maybe someone on youtube can teach me how to do it. While I was at it (the shopping) I continued to distract myself in the most unproductive ways buying socks for my son and a snow globe for my daught. Eventuelly, I ventured into a clothes shop and bought a dress which makes it sound straightforward. Really, I had to try on a multitude of dresses, which were all too big and too small in all the wrong places to get to that end point. Finally there, it felt like the natural next step to talk about my research with the woman in the store. “Somehow I have ended up writing about men” I told her. “Men who wants to build mini-worlds in the Sea or at Mars.” She got it immediately, even if I felt that I did not. “I once went hitch hiking by boat around the Mediterranean and continued onwards to Gran Canaria,” she offered, “What struck me once I got to Las Palmas was the number of men who seemed to live permanently on their yachts playing cards, drinking whisky with each other. They all talked about how they were going to sail alone across the Atlantic, but it seemed to me that nobody ever did. Eventually I hitched a hike across to Tobago. It was the same thing on the other side of the Atlantic. All these men sitting in their big ships talking about how they were going to cross over to Europe and never doing it. Maybe it was not the point either. I think they needed that space of their own where they could be 100 % in control and not be contradicted or challenged.” With the shopkeeper, we decide I try to look more seriously into the woman angle. There must be women doing the same thing. And since now that she has brought the phenomena down to a more manageable size (now apparently I am satisfied with people wanting just a boat of their own and not a whole nation, or island, let alone globe) I think I know where I need to look again, because Queen Anastasia of Ruritania has been sitting there in my notes while I have been debating whether or not she meets my criteria for selection. (The problem, of course, has been that I do not know what my criteria are but the shopkeeper seemed so certain of the connection she made that I feel encouraged.)

Image: Bengt Nyman

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