Some books make a difference. I've had a favorite game for years; I'll give a friend five minutes to pick the two volumes they'd take with them if they had to leave all the rest behind in an emergency.
While growing up in New York, my Merchant Mariner father sought to teach me how to survive either ashore and afloat. Here are his rules:
Salvaged from the Titanic, this carved panel still looks like the woodcarver finished yesterday despite having spent most of a century in the darkness of the North Atlantic.
For many years, my constant associate was a large gray cat with attitude issues. Clancy J. Bumps ( with an umlaut over the U) was a feral cat who claimed me while I was living in Ottawa, Ontario in 1969. Clancy entered my life by walking up to my friends and me one day. He looked us over, and choosing me proceeded to climb up my leg, my back, and onto my head. He thereby claimed me as his personal property.
In 1963 I had been expelled from high school in New York. I spent more time in the coffeehouses of Greenwich Village than in class. Present any of my colleagues from the 1960s with a photo of me in front of a class teaching; they'd have told you it was absurd, laughed, and walked away. But, there I was in a tweed jacket, khaki pants, blue oxford button-down shirt, and regimental striped tie.
From where we crouched, we could see the police car's searchlight and the sounds of the night watchman walking by the stonewall. The watchman's flashlight was bobbing up, and then down, we could see the vapor from his breath in it's light every time he stumbled on the stones.
Vendetta, my father told me, was an art invented by the Catalans. Hot, cold, mild, or spiced, Catalan's mastered it. That was where I left it until I moved to Maine. There I learned it was a bit more complicated.
The cunners lurked below. They swam near the rock recesses and around the pilings of the wharf where we were eating lunch.
Boundless inspiration. It's not always available. That's why art books and museums are so valuable.
"Now let the tool do the work. The edge is sharp. All you have to do is guide it." That was me to a student at the WoodenBoat School years ago. More recently, sensei said to me, "Lou, the sword is sharp, let it do the cutting. All you have to do is guide it." …