essays by shé


“Just don’t do laundry here,” said the apartment dweller. It was dawn, and I was shaking out blankets from the Jetta on a residential side street in Santa Monica, my hometown.

I didn’t say, “Of course not. I’m homeless, not stupid.” I also didn’t say, “I am human, like you. This is the best I can do right now, sleeping in a car. Why don’t you say hello?” Instead I laughed as if he had not just sliced me with a shame knife, and drove away as soon as possible.

Fifty years old, recovering from a near-fatal illness, I had returned to the familiar environs of my childhood. But it wasn’t what I needed. Turns out the ocean is the necessity. She is my healer, teacher, family, friend, lover, god.

Eventually I also figured out that cities make me sick, that a wilder life suits me best. Two days ago I hung a clothesline between two kiawe trees off a dirt road in the outback. A few folks passed in the distance, but without comment.

Four times I’ve lived in a vehicle, including now, in Baja. I almost bought another travel trailer recently until I realized that I want to explore the sea, not land. I’m always driving to another stretch of ocean, so why not buy a boat?

Yesterday a kindly sailor invited me on board a Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20. I’d been visiting marinas and boatyards, and ogling from ashore. He answered all my questions, told me about Facebook groups, and gave me his and his sweetie’s card. His buddy showed up as I was departing and asked if I wanted to crew his boat to San Carlos, departing tomorrow.

Yes, you can do anything you want, and live any old how. What’s best for the Joneses ain’t necessarily best for you. You are welcome here.

Sailing, Sailing, Over the Ocean Blue by Shé, 12″ x 12″ acrylic on canvas, 2022




2 responses to “Welcome”

  1. K Avatar

    Very cool piece–I love the idea of you living on a boat–a beautiful, challenging way of life. I’ve often thought about getting a sail boat (about 34 ft or so) myself, to open up the world.

    1. Shé Avatar

      Thanks, cuz. So glad you like it. I liked the Flicka because it was small, only 24′ and perhaps manageable. Taking lessons soon, too!

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