Thar She Blows!

01 Sep

I hate and fear homework like Captain Ahab hates and fears Moby Dick. I spend my days bemoaning the loss of a metaphorical leg and plotting revenge.

Oh boy, I’ve been reading too much Melville.

On the plus side, reading this book is helping me see what not to write in a dialogue, as well as demonstrating how much detail is too much.

This book has waaaay too much detailing and random research article type writing. I really didn’t expect to read the encyclopedia when I picked this book up for class…but I know more about whales now than I ever wanted to. Yay for random eight page chapters about the history of whaling and captains and capsizing ships and sperm whales and narwhals and specksynders and on and on. My word.

Sometimes, I get so tired when I’m reading the chapters that my eyes water just sitting there. Other times, though, the chapter is genuinely interesting. Despite my best efforts, I am slowly learning a little about ships. I still have no idea with side aft is, or what the poop deck is, but I know boom mast and sails…haha, of course…and a couple other little things like that. I’m learning the pecking order of a crew on a whaling ship in the eighteen hundreds, which is fascinating and sometimes hilarious. Especially when the second mate is bonkers and paranoid, the third mate is barefooted half the time, and the first mate is the name sake of everyone’s favorite coffee shop.

That’s right, Starbucks started aboard the Pequod [the boat Ishmael and Ahab are on].

Last night while I was reading, I came across the chapter that’s set up like a scene from a play. There was the person’s name [or, more often, the country they’re from] and then what they said. I proceeded to read all of this aloud to my roommate in various accents depending on the person speaking. There was a Spanish sailor, a French sailor, a little black cabin boy, a couple Indians and other various savages, an Irish sailor, an Italian sailor, and many more. Americans. Brits. Chinese. Places I’ve never heard of.

My roommate was laughing so hard at my accents she almost fell off her bed.

Yes, I think I enjoyed that chapter more than most of the others.

If you’re interested, it’s chapter forty.

Go read it. I wouldn’t suggest reading the whole thing out loud [they are sailors, after all…think stereotypes], but try to read it with the various accents.

Let me know if anyone around you falls off of something because they’re laughing so hard.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


One response to “Thar She Blows!

  1. Amy Rice

    September 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Haha… probably the most fun anyone has ever had reading Melville. I could’ve warned you it was about 400 pages of whale blubber. And the bit about learning more about ships, well you know me and naval history. (I think you do, anyway…) Just saying, if you ever want any answers, just ask me. 😉

    And there is a Starbuck in the 60’s show Battlestar Gallactica.


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