Wednesday, November 21, 2007

antarctica

I finished another book! Unfortunately, this got me nowhere on my progress through the shelves of unread books, because I borrowed the book from Alsho. It's Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, a memoir by a writer who got one of those totally sweet NSF deals where they send writers and artists to Antarctica. I'm going to get one of those. Just you wait.

Ok, so, a lot of it just sounded exhausting. Sara Wheeler, the writer, was mostly based at McMurdo (the U.S. base), and did a lot of rushing out in helicopters to join scientists at their field sites. She also hooked up with a seismologist, did a lot of cooking, and slept in some very cold places. It just sounds perfect. I mean, ok, you can die really fast and they make you learn how to do emergency tracheotomies, but it's so beautifully empty.

I think this quote near the end, after she spent a few quiet months sharing a hut on the sea ice off McMurdo with a nice artist lady, sums up the appeal for me: "It's as though God has given me a gift, once in my life, to step off the planet for two months and listen to a different music." I've occasionally caught myself (as described in this historic blog post) wondering if there's some other planet I could go to, because this one just seems really crappy sometimes. Maybe Antarctica would be close enough.

Anyway, I was already dying to go to Antarctica - it's the only continent I have left - but this book made me want to go even more.

Huh. I just looked at the list of former participants in the NSF program. I have read unedited copy by some of these people, and...well, if they're only going on raw writing skills, I'm doing ok. Unfortunately, the NSF is probably also interested in such things as Ideas and Grit, but I can develop those later, right?

1 comment:

BASSO said...

Happy Thanksgiving