You ever look up from some lonely beach
and see a far schooner? Well, when I write
this poem, each phrase go be soaked in salt;
I go draw and knot every line as tight
as ropes in this rigging; in simple speech
my common language go be the wind,
my pages the sails of the schooner Flight.
–Derek Walcott The Schooner Flight
A line from the poem The Schooner Flight inspired the title of my last article “Soaking Pages in Salt: Behind the Scenes of Writing about the Schooner Bagheera” where I talked about shadowing a college environmental science field program aboard a historic Maine schooner. Walcott’s mention of “each phrase go be soaked in salt” represented well my experience of trying to take notes on the wave- and rain-soaked deck so that I could document the specialized language used aboard the sailing ship and could write the magazine article the way the editor requested. There was no way that I could rely upon my memory for this detail. Given the volume of sea water sloshing about, I couldn’t use the Notes app on my iphone nor could I use a regular notebook. Each moment on the rocking deck and in the hold brimmed with characters, dialogue, and action. I needed a reliable note taking tool.
I turned to a product that I recommend for travelers and travel writers: Rite in the Rain notebooks. Rite in the Rain produces all-weather journals with durable, waterproof pages. You can choose them with hard or soft covers; I like the hard covers as I feel they stand up to travel abuse better, but this is a personal preference. My field geologist husband has relied upon them for his work for over 30 years. He has never been disappointed in their durability in the field, as well as their ability to serve as a stable archive for notes. I finally acquired my first all-weather journal to write the schooner article Journey of Discovery for Portland Magazine.
I liked the Rite in the Rain notebooks so much, this summer I took one along on as I went on a pilgrimage hiking Camino de Santiago, also known as “the French Way,” popularized by Jack Hitt’s 2005 book “Off the Road” and Martin Sheen’s 2011 movie “The Way.” The journal that preserves my writing as we hiked through Spain will remain a personal treasure.
Patricia Erikson blogs about Maine, travel, and writing from a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, follow Patricia on Instagram at @seashorewrite or subscribe to Peaks Island Press in the upper right corner at http://www.peaksislandpress.com