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John Palcewski's Journal

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Through Her Eyes

Swells lifted me gently and then lowered me back down again. Once in a while a large one came suddenly, unexpectedly, like a huge living thing playing games. Pedaling, pedaling made a repetitive squeaking sound. I put my hand in the water and felt the coolness. Thin rays of refracted sunlight fanned out from my little boat, filaments of light that extended like long strands of white hair down into the darkness.

At Ulysses Rock I put on my mask and snorkle and jumped off. I dove deep, surrounded by zillions of small fish the shape and size of sardines. Shimering bands of light played over the surface of fuzzy brown-green rocks. I swam along the bottom until it plunged into a deep blue abyss. I turned in the water, looked up at the undulating bright mirror of the surface, silver bubbles rising from my snorkel. I turned and looked downward. I was at an enormous altitude, flying slowly over mountaintops. Their slopes fell and disappeared into the violet darkness.

I passed Sorgeto bay, and headed for the huge rock of Sant Angelo. When I got to it 45 minutes later I paddled slowly and looked for the cave that Sylvia had once described. In it, she said, was a bubbling thermal spring. A man had fallen into it and was boiled to death. I saw no cave.

The gentle rocking of the boat put me quickly to sleep. I dreamed Vittoria was lying beside me on the small deck. She had finally come to me, after all. I felt peaceful, as I always felt when she was in my arms. We were on an adventure. Exploring the island of her birth. I was seeing Isola Verde through her eyes, and it became even more beautiful. I was happy.

She rose. I asked her where she was going. She smiled, but said nothing. Then she dove off the boat and swam away.

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I swam along the bottom until it punged into a deep

Or a bigger vocabulary than I have? No time to look it up now.

Ah, dreams. They so outpace life, no?

Loved the "flying" description of scuba diving, the hint of savagery amist (admist? Ugh, I'm illiterate today!) the beauty.

Hi, Ho, Hi Ho, first day of school you know... Gotta go.

Particularly like the flavors of this "installment", John. I find so many of your writings (and your accompanying images) echoing in my mind as I go about my day; sometimes when I’m in the most opposite places imaginable; like while at work, plumbing in some dark and gloomy basement. For me, writing that has this kind of lasting and evocative power is comparative to some of the more memorable books I’ve read. In fact, more and more, as I’ve read along, I’ve thought that these journal entries of yours some how, some way MUST become a book. Oh, I know how nearly impossible it is to have one’s writings published; especially these days when so many fine old and smaller publishing houses have either disappeared or have been absorbed by the few remaining mega – publishers....sigh. However, I truly feel if these entries were pulled together and shaped into book form, (a TON of work, I know!) it would be one of those books among my favorites; those I’ve read more than once all the way through - or just dipped into now and then for some mental R& R.

Not to brag about my own credentials as a reader, or to be overly flattering (or insulting, as the case may be according to your own tastes) to you by my comparisons, but I do think I recognize some of the elements that make noteworthy and memorable books of this genre. To name a few that come to mind in connection to one degree or another, I’ve read all of the writings of Proust, (yes, really, ALL the volumes -twice.) Nabakov, Anthony Powell, Graham Green, and Lawrence Durrell. Perhaps it is Durrell, more than the others: Your writings do strike me in some of the same ways that his; "Bitter Lemons", "Prospero’s Cell", "Reflections On A Marine Venus" and, of course, the books of his "Alexandria Quartet". I don’t know, perhaps you will disagree entirely or be displeased by my writing this, but I certainly do not mean to be offensive... Just my long-winded, jumbled up way of saying I like your stuff!

Greetings, jaarronn, and my most sincere thanks for your kind & generous comments.

The writers on your list are those I must admit I have not yet gotten around to, because about 30 years ago I became entranced with the works of James Joyce and have been tied up in deep study and admiration since. Before Joyce I was a Hemingway fan, and also admired Fitzgerald, most of the Russians, and an Italian writer by the name of Alberto Moravia. His fiction about Rome convinced me I had to live in Italy someday.

These LJ entries are indeed being fashioned into a book as I go along. On my desk sits a weighty ms of paper and photos about two and a quarter inches thick and still growing.

Early on, when I started, I pitched the idea of a photo novel to a US literary agent, and she said she was interested, and said I ought go ahead and create a book. My original idea was to try to coax publishers to look at the LJ, and get an idea as to where I was going with the concept. She said no, better to make something much more tangible, a ms of printed text and photographs that an editor can put into his/her hands.

It's very good to hear affirmations such as the ones you were so kind enough to send my way. It reinforces my belief that at least in this particular instance I'm on the right track!

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hello, Jdumars, and thanks for your interest and appreciative comments. If you run across any glitches as this thing goes along I'd be glad to hear of them, but please don't spend too much time on it. Skilled people should never work for free! (Or hardly ever...)

I've wanted to get back to respond to this for a day or so, but have been hopelessly behind in my correspondence. I just want to say that I am so pleased to know you are, indeed, fashioning a book from your journal. As said, I think I know a good book when I read one and your writings here have all the ingredients of a most fascinating and memorable book. Damn!, I wish I were a publisher!

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