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184) Read ‘Shackleton’s Boat Journey’ 17 Jul 2012

“We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.”

– Shackleton

Secretly I’ve been writing a novel in my mind about a team of scientists and artists who travel to the Antarctic on an expedition to investigate the effects of climate change. Along the way, someone in the group mysteriously disappears in the bleak whiteness of night…a murder perhaps? No one knows? After this, everything goes awry…

I have yet to put it all in words or on paper. I’ve tried countless times, but my complete lack of real-life Antarctic experience has held me back; I’m used to writing about things I know. This led me (and by extension, John) on a research frenzy, consuming as much polar literature, polar films, and documentaries as humanly possible.

Somewhere along that messy and fascinating process, we googled upon the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton, his 28-men crew, and their epic journey to The Antarctic (1914-1917). It’s a story that will blow your mind. One of the greatest real-life sagas of human survival ever told. I’ve been obsessed with it actually; watching and reading whatever I can find; yearning to be there, in the vastness, in the nothingness.

The poles have always appealed to me, much in the same way as the desert. I especially want to know the people that live there. The people with the will, the skills, and the confidence to withstand loneliness. I want to share drinks with them over supper. I want to talk to them about art and life and survival, all night long. I imagine these are probably the most fascinating people on earth.

John and I finished up our latest Shackleton book on our Bruce Peninsula camping trip, this one written by Frank Worlsey, Shackleton’s captain. It was a quick and easy read. Took us about 4 hours. Most of the writing is first-hand accounts taken from Worlsey’s diary, surprisingly poetic and literary at times.

Still working out my novel in my mind. I have dreamy plans to travel to one of the poles next year. But we’ll have to see how this year goes first. We’ve got a lot of traveling to do still.