A Thousand Words is Worth One Picture: Cruise

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I didn’t anticipate the sheer giddiness that overcame me when we put out to sea in August on our first cruise. I had spent the last four weeks trying to make sure everything was packed just right, passports came through, evening wear was not super wrinkled, that I had enough motion sickness blockers to cover me the whole week, and all the other planning that goes into a cruise the first time. When those giant engines roared to life and the ship put out to sea, I laughed. I laughed for joy.

Hearing the words ‘International Maritime Law’, seeing dolphins and flying fish, and finally, finally sailing out past all that is mankind to only ocean awoke a part of my childhood I had long forgotten. Memories of Peter Pan’s ship, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Horatio Hornblower, and the Pirates of the Caribbean, and other books and movies where they sailed the seven seas in search of treasure flooded me as the wind hit my face tasting of salt. I wanted to sing “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me.” I wanted to sail by the stars in Her Royal British Navy. I wanted to re-live childhood dreams.

I only then realized how much time me and my siblings spent reading and watching movies about the days of sailing around the world in clipper ships. I only then realized that while I had always loved the ocean from the shore, I had never loved the ocean on the ocean. It is truly something that grips you and never let’s go.

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We’ve all seen pictures of the open ocean, or the moon gleaming on the water, but a picture can’t tell you about the open feeling of only sky and sea. Nothing as far as the eye can see but sky and sea. It can’t tell you about sailing through storms. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing north, east, west, or south. Turn in a circle and only sky and sea. Weight lifts from the shoulders, burdens seem small in the beauty of open ocean. Mixed with this beauty, akin to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, is the tiny drop of horror. You look around and nothing. On a cruise ship filled with enough food to feed a small nation the horror of emptiness lies remote, buried. But, a well-read home-schooler remembers tales of ships lost at sea. All that water and not one drop of it safe to drink boggles the mind. The beauty mixed with just a drop of fear draws you to stare out into the empty space. And it’s not just the lack of food and water, it’s the life below the surface.

Dolphins raced through the waves created by our massive ship, flying fish, tiny and almost impossible to see, flew out across the ocean, and sea gulls called in our wake, but you look for the shadows under the waves. Imaginations can run wild when you know an unexplored world lives below what you can see. This is what is captivating about the open ocean. Beauty and fear.

While we were on the cruise, there was a super moon. It shone out across the water pulling along a bright golden tail and lighting up the ship. It looked like a cheesy ocean post card and I kept waiting for a dolphin to leap through the moonbeams. We watched the moon until our eyes were heavy with sleep and bed called in an inescapable lullaby.

The sun rose over blue oceans turning clouds pink and lavender. What a glorious way to wake up. Sleeping on a ship was some of the best sleep I’ve ever had. The gentle rocking, the sense of nothing, the going on forever lulls you down into the depths of unconscious dreaming.

Formal night delighted me with finery and laughter. Movies from the twenties came to mind and I half expected Hercule Poirot come around a corner with his perfect mustache.

In a picture, you see the open ocean, you see the blue water with hints of purple and bits of green, but you don’t really see the open ocean. You don’t see how your eye instinctively looks to the horizon, that far distant line of blue meeting blue. You don’t see how the ocean is the perfect shade of denim with just enough dark wash and just enough light. At the corner of your eye dances the sparkle of the sunshine slipping across the top of little waves. Above, the sky is a very clear blue with a strong white under tone too strong to be a baby blue. It is a true and real sky blue broken by a wisp or poof of cloud here and there.

The voices of the other guest sound out, excited children call out to each other, breaking through the soft, muffled woosh of the ship cutting through the water. A gentle sway reminds you you’re not on solid ground and the smell of coffee delivered to your door reminds you you’re on vacation.

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I could dedicate a whole other article to the storms we sailed through. They were spectacular. After one we almost missed due to dinner, we saw the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen. The rain trailed from blue clouds like beards off an old man’s face. The sun turned the sea and sky pink, orange, orange, and pink. A double rainbow arched across the blue expanse.

The sea is a dangerous thing and someday I’ll return to her again.

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This article is dedicated to my Husband, the Coles and the Garricks. It was wonderful to spend so much time with all y'all!

This article is dedicated to my Husband, the Coles and the Garricks. It was wonderful to spend so much time with all y’all!

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Books: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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Midsummer-Mark; The Day of Changes, the seventeenth of Parthis in the Seventy-eighth Year of Aza Guilla, as the Therin Calendar would have it. On the Day of Changes, the city of Camorr went mad. – The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

I follow a blog by a Library where they review books. I enjoy the reviews because they’re short, to the point, and generally true in my experience. This blog has only added to my reading list, so follow it at your own risk.

The other day, I read a review for Red Seas under Red Skies, by Scott Lynch. To be honest, and if you know me you won’t be surprised, it was the caution at the end of the article which caught my eye and made me want to read the book. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy high fantasy, and I enjoy clean fantasy if it’s done well. But, what I don’t like is insipid fantasy with no teeth.

Needing a new book to read on my phone while I work out, I looked up Scott Lynch. I found that Red Seas under Red Skies is book 2 of the series, so I downloaded a sample of The Lies of Locke Lamora, book 1. It hooked me instantly. Reading this book was akin to when I watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I literally grinned from ear to ear the entire movie and couldn’t stop grinning when I left the theater. It was fun. It was just plain fun.pirates-of-the-caribbean-johnny-depp-orlando-bloom

The Lies of Locke Lamora is a very well written fantasy. You know when you dabble in an art form for a while and it gives you an appreciation for the artists because you know how much work it is to do what they do? I felt that way the entire time I read Scott Lynch’s book. I have a good sense of what goes on behind the words on the page. Lynch has done the work. His world is well-developed, in-depth, gritty, and unique. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a fantasy book this much in a long, long time.

I find much of fantasy and urban fantasy annoying, degrading, and poorly written. Lynch’s book is none of those. He’s gritty, but not quite to the George R.R. Martin level. His rich world is familiar, but not just another medieval fantasy. He doesn’t insult my intelligence by having a sex scene on the first page as a hook. Nor does he treat women as eye candy and men as idiots. He uses a series of flashbacks to develop the characters and constantly ratchet up the tension level until the reader is strung out and begging for relief.

The storyโ€”without giving too much awayโ€”is about a young man, Locke, who is a thief in a dark and dangerous port city. Locke is far more than a pickpocket. He uses costumes, language, and fashion to steal from the one group of people he shouldn’t steal from by the laws of the Secret Peace. He has just enough moxy to get him in deep trouble, and just enough savvy to get him out. But, Locke is also a very loyal man guided by what he views as right: stealing is fine, but murder isn’t. As the plot thickens, this loyalty is used against him over and over, but he never waivers from it. Locke is no Robin Hood. He steals from the rich and keeps it for himself. But he is clever, kind, and has the snarkiest sense of humor even in the tightest of spots. This sense of humor is one of the most enjoyable parts of the book.

10327143_10200897433198493_1895951008_nThe Lies of Locke Lamora did put me in a very uncomfortable position. I both wanted to keep reading and I wanted to stop. I wanted to make sure everyone came through the twisted heist and double-crossing alive and wellโ€”they don’tโ€”but I didn’t want to leave the world. I wanted to stay with Locke and his gang for as long as possible. If I read in little increments, I could stay longer. If I savored the moment of tension when lives where on the line, I wouldn’t have to return to a world without honorable thieves dressed in fake beards wielding stilettos and a sharp tongue. If I just read a little . . .

It didn’t happen. Lynch weaves a tale of high stakes and high tension with twists and turns reaching to grab the elusive Locke and his gang in a grasp of death. Putting the book down left Locke, Jean, Galdo, Calo, and Bug in dire circumstance. I just couldn’t do it. So, what did I do? How did I solve the horrible situation Lynch put me in? I instantly got book 2!

I do feel obligated to put in a word of caution. This book is pretty clean, all things considered, on the sex side, but it is filled with language and violence. If you have no stomach for such things, please just pass on it. But, if you think you might enjoy something that reads like a mix between Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean, that’s just a bit easier to read, and where a few people make it to the end, try the Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

If you’ve already read it, let me know what you thought! If you click the picture of the book below, it will take you to Amazon where you can order the book, plus I get a little kick back for being the link you used. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/055358894X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=055358894X&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=CERRQ3GNG34SLF76

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Jean, Locke, Bug, Calo and Galdo…or Galdo and Calo.