Slowly, slowly, she tars the vessel’s boards and packs the hull with goods for her journey. She hangs stiff, white sails, polishes the brass, winds new coils of hemp rope and bottles lime juice for the long days away from land. She dashes a bottle of wine against the new ship’s prow, boards its sanded deck and pulls up the gangway. The anchor chain rattles as it curls around the spindle, and the sails catch the wind. Home, familiar, beloved and dull, recedes behind her. She plays sextant and steers by the stars. Vastly shifting and blue-black with light and shadowy depths, the ocean roils beneath. She is underway.
The manuscript is turned in, the editorial letter read and revisions made. The new novel is fretted over and blessed, its pages shuffled, its words and the patterns of its text examined for flaws one final time. Tied with ribbon and tucked into a waterproof envelope, it travels from west coast to east. The author drinks some wine or a margarita with lime and paces and mutters. She stares at the stars. “This time,” she wishes. “This time.” A book cover arrives; a link pops up online. The days dwindle down and at last, at the mid-crossing, she can sense a change in currents and the soaring arrival of gulls suggests that the new country will soon be reached.