Thursday, November 15, 2012

Getting back on the horse, after riding on sailboats

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - After a busy writing and journalistic summer in upstate New York, followed by a whirlwind reporting assignment in Vava'u, the Kingdom of Tonga (covering the Regatta Vava'u sailing extravaganza), it has taken me until today to finally establish a writing schedule.

Sign for Regatta at Tropical Tease shirt shop in Vava'u
After returning from Vava'u, I spun my wheels for weeks with traditional queries to magazines and major newspapers, meeting limited success at landing articles. Limited might be too generous a description.

But as the great travel writer Rolf Potts told me, what's most important is having the material in hand. In this case that means my notebooks full of impressions and quotes, roughly 5,000 excellent photos and enough video to keep a Steven Spielberg editing for a whole winter.

The Tonga/Vava'u stories are going to be a welcome contrast to write when compared to the book I have promised myself to complete before summer. The working title is The Fracking War and while it will be a work of fiction, it will be based on the well-documented horrors surrounding hydrofracking for natural gas. Several excellent non-fiction tomes have been written by journalists, even using some clever literary journalism techniques.

Taking notes the first day in Vava'u
But none of these has hit the level of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, which is what is needed to grab the public's attention to a cataclysmic environmental disaster in place and growing daily.

I'm shooting for the hyrofracking version of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

This piece is appearing today because outside forces were conspiring to keep me from doing any writing. And I was a co-conspirator. Why write when you can boogie board, swim in the pool, walk on the beach or simply turn on the blender and mix up a concoction that requires salt on the rim of the serving glass.

Doing serious writing here in Nuevo Vallarta in my seaside (and poolside) condo might prove as difficult as studying for the Catholic priesthood in a strip bar.

Still, I have earplugs, a soon-to-be completed office area and if I stick to my schedule, it should work.

Vamos a ver (we will see). I will post progress reports here weekly.