A boat lost at sea

When I was eight I wrote a story of an anthropomorphic boat that travelled around the world’s waters. As it visited place after place, it grew increasingly lonely and started to look for another boat to keep it company. But it turned out that the ocean was vast and that there was no other boat to be found.

Despite primitive wordings, a rather flat narrative and the naive illustrations of a child, it is without a doubt my best piece of fiction to date. My mother has it in safe-keeping and shows it to me once in a while to remind me of how my teachers once praised my creativity for storytelling. It’s funny actually. I was the kid in special-class for both spelling and maths and was mocked by my best friend for my bad drawings. Fast-forward a few years, and I was suddenly very good at maths, could draw better than the average teenager but hadn’t finished a creative story in years. Fast-forward a few decades, and I have a PhD in engineering, am a half-decent amateur painter but have a desperate desire to be an author.

But that one story is a really rather remarkable remnant of what could have been. It shows the imaginative mind of a child that is not bothered by categories that distinguish vital differences between objects and agents. Yet profoundly enough, it is a story about fulfilling your purpose by doing exactly what you were created for, but in doing so you get lost in yourself and nothing else, in no one else. In the end, the boat does find another boat and as they move closer to one another their sails form a heart over the blue water of a safe bay. I guess there is no changing the hopeless romantics.

So now, almost three decades later, it is the practised wordings of a woman who spends every day in the company of the written word, that fears not that the boat will never reach a safe harbour, but that the profound simplicity of a child is clouded by all the plastics polluting her oceans. I fear I might have set the bar too high.

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