Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Could Exaggerate This Story, But To Be Honest, I Really Don't Think I Need To. It's All True.

The secret but exotic location that I've been in for the last week or so will remain a secret for now. But I'm prepared to show you what I was doing there:


Well, I was making notes, plotting, planning, scheming and dreaming - all of which is a vital part of the writing process for me. It actually takes up much more time than the mechanics of writing a first draft, which I can usually do relatively quickly (at 2,000 words a day).

With planning it's much harder to measure progress. All I have to go on is the buzz of excitement when a plot feels like it's taking shape.
My remote island hideaway was a great place to be doing all of this, except that I became so engrossed at one point that I didn't notice one of my shoes had somehow leapt into the ocean and was sailing away.
I jumped in after it - pausing only to panic, laugh, panic again, take a picture of the rapidly disappearing shoe (in case I needed to present a 'missing shoe' report to the police at a later date), wrap my wallet in my shirt and hide it among the rocks (along with my camera), and finally select a suitably heavy rock to weigh down my other shoe. I'm no fool.

The sun was incredibly hot, so I figured the water would be warm enough. the current didn't look too strong either. How wrong I was, on both counts.

Freezing. Thought my heart was going to stop.
Strong current. Arms nearly fell off. It was further and longer than I've ever swum without a felt badge reward at the end of it.
Several fishermen watched me from the shore, in equal part mystified and annoyed (I was undobutedly scaring away their fish).

In between desperate, shivering gasps, I tried to call out to them, in as many languages as I could muster, to say something like: 'It's OK, I'm just chasing my shoe. I know what I'm doing. But please keep watching me in case I start to drown.'

The language barrier was irrelevant once I was too far from shore to be heard.

But I did get back to shore - and with the shoe. The tricky part was swimming back once I'd retrieved it. I tried swimming with the shoe in my mouth, in my fist and, finally, stuffed down the front of my trunks. That last one seemed to work pretty well, but did provoke a couple of strange looks from the fishermen as I eventually made it back to the shore.

Not once did I think of putting the shoe ON MY FOOT.

Lesson learned.
Here's me quietly engrossed in my new novel, before I'd noticed the shoe had gone:

In fact, I think it was in getting up onto that rock that I inadvertantly kicked off my shoe. (Remember that I only had a few seconds to get into this pose - I was alone, and had just balanced the camera on a nearby ledge and set it on the timer.)

Finally, here's the shoe making its break for freedom:

This is only a moment after it had gone in, so as you can see it's still pretty close to the shore.

It went a long way pretty quickly.

I'll end with a close-up:


Anonymous said...

We at the Shoe Liberation Front have a different perspective on the events of that fateful day.

It was a daring break for freedom thwarted by the animal cunning of the slave master.

Imagine, if you will, a leap of hundreds of millimetres into a raging sea, the desperate swim through mountainous waves, heading for the open ocean. All just a daring diversion to allow his brother shoe the chance to escape overland.

Little did our hero realise that the foul oppressor and berried his brother alive, entombing him beneath a mountain of rock.

We are pleased to tell you that both shoes are recovering well after their ordeal and have begun a vigorous training regime of shoe-jitsu, in preparation of their next bid for freedom.

Remember, next time the shoe will be on the other foot.

Joe said...

Well, yes, I can see that point of view. You're right on at least one count - both shoes are now indeed recovering well.
They've just come out of a spin in the washing machine and they're looking as good as new.