A Life on the Ocean Wave: Writing

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The Achille Lauro

Hello. My name is Emma and I go on cruises. Mostly, so far on P&O ships out of Southampton, but other perfectly good cruise companies are available. ;-) When I can, I con my parents into paying for my ticket.

When I travel, I blog. If you would like to read it all, it can be found at my PS. The Post have asked me to proffer some edited highlights of my ramblings, which I shall now inflict on you forthwith. Enjoy.


In my last missive, I outlined how hectic my day was going to be today, and I said that something would have to give. What gave were the Picasa class, Spanish and the Wii session. There's always another Spanish class and another Wii session, and Neil (the [email protected] manager) has promised me a one-to-one session to show me around Picasa any time I like, so nothing much lost there.

Instead, I went to the talk "So you want to be an author?" Quite entertaining but didn't really help much! Most people there had already written something and just wanted to know how to get published – that's pretty much why I went – but the speaker got published by luck rather than judgement, so he couldn't really advise anyone. He submitted several articles to the Guardian, then they asked him for a regular column and two years later someone offered him a book deal. Would it be lovely if it really was that simple?!

On a personal level, I am about to have a few excerpts from these ramblings published in The Post, which is the online newspaper of h2g2. This is very exciting and very flattering, and I think I can soon get away with calling myself published, rather than self-published, as I am here1. As far as I can tell, the difference is that I put my stuff here, on my blog; THEY put my stuff there. That's being published, isn't it?!

It's very warm in the ship – obviously not as warm as on deck, where it is somewhere in the region of 82 in the shade – but still far warmer than an air-conditioned ship should be, and more humid as well. The air con is clearly struggling to cope. In one bank of four lifts, two are icy and cool and the other two are like Turkish baths – hot and humid. I half expect the mirrors to start steaming up! If you would like to visualise, they have mirrors from waist height to ceiling on all three sides. I think they are gold-backed, rather than silver. That's a lot of mirrorage and, yes, you can't help but check your hair/ skin/ teeth/ outfit every time you get in a lift, man or woman, young or old. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that taking the stairs is not only better for your physical health and well-being, but also your mental health and self-esteem, because you're not surrounded by mirrors all the time! That said, there are mirrors on the stairs too, but judicious eye positioning can enable you to avoid those as you make your turns. They're on the landings in the middle of each flight, so you have to position yourself quite carefully as you come down the first set, but once you've made the U-turn, the second half is mirror-free. Unless, of course, you land opposite an open lift! Going upwards is not an issue, as you have your back to the offending glass as you turn the corner. In their defence, I suppose they need to generate and reflect as much light as possible indoors, and the mirrors are fairly flattering, but sometimes the lighting is a let-down. Some lifts have lighting that would make Keely Hawes and Charlize Theron look blotchy. Fluorescent lighting really should be formally designated as a Crime Against Humanity, it really should. It's definitely Cruel and Unusual Punishment, that's for sure.

For those interested in the continued health and well-being of the contents of my noggin, I have finished today's sudoku, but only a little over half of the crossword. Not my finest hour, but an improvement on yesterday, nonetheless.

Tonight I wore the Monsoon dress (the two sizes smaller dress!). It turned out to be a Good Hair evening.

I was amazed when sitting down to write this on the dressing table, before the mirror, how like my cousin Dena I look tonight. My face is obviously thinner than it was and my eyes, although with significant bags under them at the moment, seem very similar to hers. Particularly in her Facebook profile picture. Maybe it's because I've caught the sun that I look more like her – her skin is more olive than mine usually appears.

Family resemblance is an odd thing. Everyone says I look so like my dad and I was often mistaken for my late paternal aunt's daughter. I wonder if it bothers my mum how much I resemble my dad. All I seem to have of hers is her pale skin and her weak ankles. It can't be pleasant to feel your daughter doesn't resemble you. One of my friends was fretting along these lines about her eldest sprog (I'm being deliberately vague for a reason, here) not long ago. She seemed quite upset by the idea that she couldn't see herself in her child. That must be a very sad feeling. Isn't the whole point of the exercise to produce little Mini-mes? To see yourself in this new little person. To watch it grow up and hope it has a better, happier, healthier, more successful existence? What must it be like to wait so long for someone to share your life with, nurture and help to grow, and then find that that person bears no resemblance to you whatsoever? I can't speak from experience, but I can't imagine it's something that's pleasant to be on the "outside" of, so to speak.

Films watched today: last fifteen minutes of America's Sweethearts - can't help but think that's rather ruined it for me... some bits of I-Spy, which I always enjoy – what's not to enjoy about Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson blowing stuff up and falling off of things? – and most of Lust for Life, a Vincent Minelli view of the life of Van Gogh. Very good film, very well done, but some of the facts have changed since it was made, which is unfortunate, because my brain wouldn't ignore them. Still, it filled in the time when Tony Blair wasn't bleating excuses and half truths live on CNN...

A Life on the Ocean Wave Archive


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1This travelblog was written before Emma offered it to the Post.—ed.

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