Saturday, June 6, 2009


Ahh. Words and beauty. The first time Tim Winton's protagonist sees the ocean and men surfing in it:

I couldn't take my eyes from those plumes of spray, the churning shards of light... death was hard to imagine when you had these blokes dancing themselves across the bay with smiles on their faces and sun in their hair...

How strange it was to see men do something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant, as though nobody saw or cared...

Or when he first surfs on his own real board:

I will always remember my first wave that morning. the smells of paraffin wax and brine and peppy scrub. The way the swell rose beneath me like a body drawing in air. How the wave drew me forward and I sprang to my feet, skating with the wind of momentum in my ears. I leant across the wall of upstanding water and the board came with me as though it was part of my body and mind. The blur of spray. The billion shards of light...

It's as close as I'm ever likely to get to being there myself. Thanks Mr Winton.

extract from Breathe by Tim Winton, Penguin books, Camberwell VIC, 2008.

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