Vicki Doudera here, marveling at the new things you can learn when you least expect it.
Take the recent Olympics Opening Ceremony. Had you ever heard of the country Comoros? Not me. Turns out that this archipelago island nation is in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa. It’s neighbors – Tanzania, Madagascar, and the Seychelles – are well known, but Comoros has stayed under the radar. For me, anyway.
Of course, my seventeen-year-old daughter knew all about Comoros. Knew the capital (Moroni) and its location. Knew the three official languages: Comorian, Arabic, and French. Was I upset that I had somehow missed some important geography lesson? Only a little. Mostly I’m in awe of all the things I don’t even know that I don’t know.
Take a sport called night squidding. While it is not yet part of the Olympics, it is apparently something my fellow Mainers are doing on these sultry summer evenings. One of those Mainers is my aforementioned seventeen-year-old, who was out last night with three girlfriends searching for this elusive many-legged creature. That’s right – they were fishing for Loligo pealei — Longfin squid – or, to give a more continental flavor to it all — calamari.
I suppose I should have guessed that we had squid in our midst (there’s my daughter holding one that she caught) but truthfully, it’s never crossed my mind. Anytime I’m in our chilly waters, all I’m thinking about is how quickly I can get out. Swimming in Penobscot Bay, even on the hottest of days, is a supremely numbing sensation. We’re not basking in some bathtub-warm temperatures here. Instead of Nirvana, think Novocain.
Along with new countries and new creatures (remember that I just became a chicken owner too!) I’m having to stretch as a writer. The first draft of a short story is spread before me, and it has been a novel experience to work on what for me is a new form. I feel like I’m still figuring it out, and far from being frustrating, it’s invigorating. I do believe I’ll get it – although I can’t even define what the “it” is yet.
Have you pushed a boundary this summer? If so, what have you done?
Join me and Kate Flora tonight (as well as fellow NE Sisters in Crime author Janis Bolster) and tell us all about it. We’ll be at the Camden Public Library at 6:30 to talk mysteries, and we’d love to have you there!
Fascinating, Vicki. I learned about many obscure countries when my boys were playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Among them, Burkina Faso, whose capital is Ouagadougou, and was formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta.
Didn’t know about the squid. Where do they go during the day, when I am out swimming in the sea? Am I swimming with squid? Do they find them using lights? And when your daughter brings them home, do you cook them?
Great job tonight! Thanks so much for making the trip.
As for the squid — yes, I’m afraid you ARE swimming with them, although they are most likely hiding under rocks during the day. Squid (and octupus) are much more active at night, although some squid fishermen say they catch more in the afternoon than at night. I think the highschoolers enjoyed the whole idea that they were staying out late doing something “productive.”
We did not eat the one she caught… but if she catches more, another time, I’ll master the art of cleaning them. Here’s a handy video from Harbor Fish Market in Portland http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM2R_evubhI in case anyone else is inspired!
There are so many more countries now than when I was in school. Some of them are old countries with new names but….Thanks for the info!
Deanna, you’re so right! The USSR’s dissolution had alot to do with it, but I’m also amazed at how many re-named countries there are.
When I was her age, I used to tell my parents I was going of to do, er, something other than squid hunting. Though I guess the fact that she actually brought back squids proves her bona fides.
Ha ha! That was me, too…. don’t tell Lexi, okay, Barb!