This is taken from the last day of a 6 day sailing trip around some Greek Islands.
I’ve got a place to go, and spend the afternoon with a wine bottle. Those same tempting cliff-hugging roads reappear, this time on the starboard side. My mind goes back to motorbikes and then the upcoming nine-day motorcycle show in the UK. Last year, one of the authors put his books in brown cardboard boxes as a gift package, thereby selling two books in one go. I should do that for my trilogy, but I want a theme printed on the box, something that will encourage someone to pick it up, that will look good on a bookshelf. I can’t really use the planet, it’s the wrong shape. What else is associated with motorcycle travel? A pannier, a pannier, a fucking pannier, oh my god. A replica of my beaten-up, sticker-festooned pannier, scaled down to contain the three books. I’ve just had an epiphany, I can sell the books for less than their individual cost and … and, wait, if I get sponsorship from various companies to have their stickers on my three-book boxset pannier that will pay for the production of it. This is truly a Eureka moment, if I get nothing else from this trip it was still worth it. That only took six days at sea, followed by half a bottle of wine; a necessity, an inkling, a concept, a solution, the invention, all in the space of ten minutes, bam bam bam bam. My work here is done, take me to the horizon, I’ve got a plan to implement.
Some people are superstitious about inspiration. Writers in particular will have certain rituals and locations for creativity to flow. I don’t know where it comes from; like luck, it’s sporadic but still it finds me. Sometimes there is a bottle nearby, but like today, it’s not necessarily half empty, and sometimes I wonder if it was always there, gifted to me like being left-handed and word-blind. I may be lacking in some common senses, but the shortfall is compensated for in the occasional creative flash of brilliance. OK, you have to wade through a lot of bollocks to get to that cherry, but it is a fruit so sweet once found.
The captain puts on a Dire Straits CD. The irony of the actual meaning of the phrase is lost on him. It’s a live album, there is a version of ‘Sultans of Swing’ I’ve not heard before. I know Mark Knopfler is rated as a talented guitarist, but it’s never come across on the radio-played hits everyone knows. After all these years, I’m hearing something previously missed, this is spectacular. The sun is shining, the coast is visible and the scenery is stimulating. There is a good vibe, the crew seem content. I think I’m having a moment, and this song will forever remind me of it. This is perfect, I need to capture it, enhance it, I need a cherry on top. I opt for putting my most expensive product in my hair. After a week of sea and salt air it has the effect the advertisement implies. Swish whoosh, shine, body and form. Fuck it, I’m gonna have another glass of wine.
I drink all the way back to port, where we meet the boat owner. He seems satisfied with the condition of the boat, although we have to wait until the morning when the bottom inspector will come with his aqualung looking for pieces of a broken hull.
Well, it’s certainly been a voyage of discovery – inward, outward and sideways. Would I do it again? No, but I won’t dismiss it either. What happened at sea will stay with me, and I’ll harbour the memories.