Saturday, April 17, 2010

107. At the foot of an old, old wharf


Draft 1

Belayed on four cleats, locked in place on each with a half hitch, ‘Toot’ is secure in the last pod of the safe haven, away from the buffeting swell whipped up by the imminent gales from the low over southern Queensland. The seaward side of the breakwater is no place for a vessel this size, under those conditions. Her skipper was taking no chances this time, the damage in the big blow of ’07 lodged permanently in his psyche.

All ‘round the marina, skippers are scurrying to secure vessels, adding ballast where necessary, to ride out the king tide expected in the early hours. A string of tinnies is being loaded into rack storage which provides a measure of wind break along the eastern margins of the marina, stretching from the warning beacon on Johnston Point to the dense string of Norfolk Pines that ring Horseshoe Bay.

All appeared ready.
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Draft 2

‘Toot’ is secured in the last pod of the safe haven. She is belayed on four cleats, locked in place on each with a half hitch. Gales from the depression over southern Queensland are whipping up buffeting swells. The seaward side of the breakwater is no place for a vessel this size. She suffered massive damage in the big blow of ’07, and insurance won’t cover her a second time around.

Throughout the marina, vessels are being secured, ballast added where necessary, to ride out the king tide expected in the early hours. A flotilla of runabouts is loaded into rack storage. This massive dry berth provides a measure of wind break along the eastern margins of the marina. The state-of-the-art storage stretches from the warning beacon on Johnston Point to the dense string of Norfolk Pines that ring Horseshoe Bay.

All hatches are battened. They await the impending storm.
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Draft 3

‘Toot’ is secured.

She is belayed on four cleats, each locked in place with a half hitch. She is moored in the backmost pod. The seaward side of the breakwater is no place for a vessel this size.

A severe depression lies over the southern coast of Queensland. Gales are whipping up buffeting swells. ‘Toot’ suffered massive damage in the big blow of ’07. Her insurance won’t be sufficient a second time around.

Throughout the marina, vessels are being secured. Ballast is added to ride out the king tide expected in the early hours. A flotilla of runabouts is loaded into rack storage.

This three storey dry berth provides a measure of wind break along the eastern margin of the harbour. The granite breakwater stretches from the warning beacon on Johnston Point to the dense string of Norfolk Pines that ring Horseshoe Bay.

All hatches are battened. Bring it on.
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Thanks to Hardie Gramatky the writer of the 'Little Toot' Golden Book for the title of this Riff.

A member of the Weekend Writer's Retreat

10 comments:

Janet said...

Interesting that you offered three drafts today!

I'm going to go with Draft #1 - it felt more personal, the writing more rhythmic. And the ending is more of a hook - 'all appeared ready' a foreshadowing to something sinister.

I also like the third draft - a little less journalistic than #2. In number 2 and 3 you mention the insurance - I think that's what seems out of place in this short passage. More people oriented rather than the boat and the elements.

My 2 cents, anyway. Love the way you weave nautical throughout - making it easy to understand for us landlubbers :)

diane said...

I like No.2 best. I agree with Janet, you could leave out the insurance bit. Then we feel more for "Toot' rather than the owner.good stuff.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I don't have that much interest in boats so don't relate all that well this these stories ... however on rereading I prefer #1.

I do remember Toot of the golden book with much fondness. I'm sure that was the story with the man who had his hair parted down the middle ... incredibly funny when I was a kid.

Julie said...

'Draft 1' is MY style of writing. Whenever possible, I join phrases together and have long flowing sentences that often start with participles. So, knowing that, I tried to change it.

Firstly, I realised that in D1 I made mention of skippers and that was against the rules I set myself for a landscape.

So in D2 I removed the people BUT forgot about insurance being person oriented! *Thwack* But I still had my normal style.

So in D3 I shortened the sentences and gave them a more 'normal' structure, ie leading with the subject. I tried to make it punchier, eg 'Bring it on'.

The style in D1 gives me pleasure to write. I also like the ending of D1 because 'All appeared ready' implies that we are to discover that it was NOT ready.

Tomorrow, a shot with people in where I only talk about the landscape. Can I do it?

Julie said...

Joan, I am on a hunt for some specific 'Golden Books'. I know them when I see them. I have two already and will put them on Plumbing next week some time.

Julia Smith said...

I really enjoyed reading the three different versions. #2 is my favorite, but I really like this line from #1:

'Her skipper was taking no chances this time, the damage in the big blow of ’07 lodged permanently in his psyche.'

Alice Audrey said...

Revision really works on this piece. I like the last version much better. Still, now I'm not sure I know what "rack storage" is. I thought it was racks in a boat, but now I'm wondering if it's the berths for the boats.

Grandma said...

Wonderful idea to show your different versions. I could easily recognize the first draft as your style. Very descriptive, almost poetic. Sometimes, the sentences weree a bit long for me. Felt like I needed to catch my breath.

The 2nd version provides some of those breaks. I liked the use of runabouts instead of tinnies, which I didn't understand. Loved "They await the impending storm." This was my favorite version.

Your 3rd version is dramatically terser than your usual style of writing. I thought it detracted a bit from this very descriptive piece. I did like your use of white space to give some visual break to the passage. Much easier to read.

Julie said...

Thanks for this, friends. Gma's comment has given me an idea for today's story which is into D2 overnight. It might not surprise you all to know that I read a lot of poetry.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I'm partial to the first draft, but even better is the picture itself. I spent many childhood summers on the New England coast, and this photo from half a world away calls to mind those happy memories. All you need is lobsters and cranberries! (Yeah, I know. You're not on Cape Cod. Neither am I, more's the pity.)