Instructions for Reading the Ocean

DSC0110__880 Jenny Adler

  1. Blue Chipped: this describes the first piece of ocean glimpsed from the far away approach. This seen fragment has extraordinary power to evoke memories of salt, satisfaction and joy. Likewise, it refers to the inner blue fragment that stores our unbounded collection of reading experiences. This blue chip is activated when a reading experience is anticipated.
  2. On the Shoreline: this refers to the situation of when a singular book first draws our attention (for many different reasons) and the colour of the water, the play of its surface and the imagined temperature of the pages  are at their most significant here.
  3. Sandshift: this refers to the ability of the brain to comprehend with pleasure the shift from land to sea or from oxygen to print. It acknowledges the risks of the new environment and the need for gills.
  4. Just In: means the allowing of influence and falling into print. It is one foot into the surf while assessing the sand.
  5. Quarterways: is the decision to continue. It is attempting the water and feeling pleased with the bravery. It is hoping that others will notice that we are the carefree, caught up easily in the moment type, careless of cold. We will allow the cover to show and the bookmark to be prominent. We might add this to a list of books already read because we are just beginning it.
  6. Submerged: refers to our giving permission to ourselves to be completely taken and held by the book. All we are hearing now is water roar and seagull and we are no longer people of the land. The bookmark will float off and anyone glimpsed on our same beach is damningly invasive of our reading boundary.
  7. The Strong Swimmer: the delightful play of energy and water volume, the clear eyes, the swim of muscle and the grasp of plot and structure for added buoyancy. Sometimes emerging from the waves of print is hilarious, the after-foundering with streaming eyes is exciting and the unexpected twists of plot and salt are stinging and embracing.
  8. Sounding the Deep: confounded by the lens of water, able to hear only water, regarding in alarm the monstrous aquatic lives that are released through reading: anger, sorrow, terror, joy and loneliness. Sounding can also describe the sensation of floating on a current of word flow, sentence fall and also the spiky drift into cold pools of unaccustomed thought. Sometimes intense activity causes a swell of emotion and a crash of beauty.
  9. Archived: this refers to the phenomenon of losing land. The swimming mind is so completely submerged that it loses bearings and becomes emperor of its new environment. This means that the aquatic experience has become complete and is now being calculated from a dizzying height. It also means that upon completion, the swimmer may remember only a few details of the story… might instead struggle to describe a newly minted understanding, a freshly washed distinction or a seismic shift in perception; for example, the sound of human breath, the history of shells or the felt sympathy of emotion. It means that the flow of seawater, seaweed and collected works has trickled and run so deep as to be now unseen and unheard.
  10. Emergence: sensing conclusion on the surface. Remembering gravity and needing sometimes to swim backwards through pages to check nets for facts and also to delay the landing for a little while longer.
  11. Closed and Completed: the end of the book, that final page and sometimes a sense of loss, sometimes a sense of achievement. It is when you must plod splashily out and over the warm minerals of a thousand fonts. Coping with the changing temperature causes disorientation. It is groping for a rough towel to comfort the smarting eyes and aching muscles as the soul enlarges to cater for its newly plunged and challenged self. It describes the completing experience of lying on hot sand to regain heat and process finale.
  12. Feeling Broadsided: when you realise that your established thoughts and beliefs have just been well and truly baptized. It is trying to clear water from your ears and regain the old balance. It is feeling rinsed, ruined and rich. It can include the loss of car keys and so temporarily unable to get home.
  13. In Remission: means coming to terms with a possibly new and uncomfortable clarity that the story has delivered. Also it is an anxiety to return again to that same stretch of beach as exploration there has barely begun. It is glancing backwards in case a fin breaks the surface as you leave. And it includes, as high priority, the preservation of library and marine environments and the pursuing fidelity of better and better books for your stretch of sand. It acknowledges the need to continue visiting the library of consternation and the alarming choices thereof.

 

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