#66 I, Isabel Scheherazade wish I’d invented the there’s-an-elephant-in-the-room phrase because there’s a HUGE elephant in the room at our house. It’s the Big Reveal that the Killer and Arturo’s Papa are one and the same. We’re all digesting this and Doing Other Stuff while we do. Is it a coincidence that suddenly I have trouble agreeing on who’s the hero in my hero project with Olivia?
Olivia and I sit in the breakfast nook mulling the final draft of our Hero Project.
How’s this for a header? Olivia clears her throat, “We were stuck like an almond in a chocolate bar.”
Cute, I say, but something’s tugging at my mind and heart like a fly buzzing against a screen. I put my pencil down. Olivia? Ernest isn’t the right hero.
We started calling Mr. Ernest Shakelton “Ernest” after about the fifth book we read about him. Here’s his story:
On an expedition to the Antarctic he gets his ship, the Endurance, stuck and crushed in the ice. So, he fixes the lifeboat: Raises the sides, covers it with canvas, and fills the seams with oil paint and seal’s blood. He leaves most of the crew on Elephant Island and heads for this other island, 700 miles away. It’s a whaling station; he knows he can get help there.
Finding this place is like finding a needle in a haystack. Mr. Worsley, the navigator, uses the stars and the sun to keep the boat headed North. Sailing in the winter means freezing gales and water that freezes at ten miles an hour. It’s awful.
Whaddya mean, Iz? We’re almost finished here! We just need a title.
No. If you sail 700 miles in stormy seas, it’s the NAVIGATING that gets you where you want to go. It’s the navigator who’s the hero. Mr. Worsley.
So. We give him credit too. Olivia shuffles our report and points. We’ve got something here about Mr. Worsley and how hard it was for him to find the latitude and longitude with his sextant. She clears her throat. “Mr. Worsley needed the sun to get a reading, and most of the time it was covered with clouds.”
Part of me knows we did give Mr. Worsley credit, but I feel I need to keep talking to push my thinking out of the fog. Olivia, hear me out on this, will you?
I take the report, skim down the page, and find the place I want. “Getting the sighting was just the first step. He had to go down below.”
Olivia. Remember? It’s flooded and stuffed with shivering crew members. Always tilting and tipping?
I continue reading. “He had to go below and use trigonometry and nautical tables to pinpoint JUST where they were. If he were the least little bit off, all was lost.”
Again, the fly-buzzing-brain-heart-tugging thing happens. I stare into the middle distance, and Olivia stares at me staring.
More soon. First Mimi needs me to set the nook for supper.