An Offshore Emergence

Have you ever read something-- a poem, a book, a story, a blog post-- that affected you so magnificently that you had to write about it the second your eyes reached the last period of the piece?

In an attempt to forget about my stressful day and relax before bed, I picked up a collection of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald and randomly chose to read The Offshore Pirate. If I had the sense it would keep me up as late as it did with jumbled thoughts and emotions that required me to write about in order to calm them down and keep them at bay, then perhaps I would have chosen a different story. Or, perhaps not. It's been awhile since I've read something that excited me this much, which can be attributed to the overwhelming busyness of the life of a college student. My days are filled with class and work, my nights are plagued by math problems, essays about utilitarianism, and microeconomics readings. Reading The Offshore Pirate was like coming up for air after drowning in a vast and paralyzing sea of "general education program" classes.

The story is romantic in the most naive, but brilliant way. Ardita is bold, confident, rebellious, sarcastic, beautiful, and self-aware of her qualities. She does not want just any average man, or to live just any average life; she wants adventure, which she finds through love.

After pirates board and seize her uncle's ship, she immediately begins to playfully banter with the leader, Carlyle. Carlyle entertains Ardita with a tale of his past as a musician, but refuses to explain what he, along with the rest of the crew, are escaping from. Ardita tells of her desire for adventure and passion, all the while making Carlyle become aware of her beauty, confidence, courage, and stubbornness. Fitzgerald illustrates their interactions and their conversations in such a way that absorbed and enchanted me. With every quick remark and every move the two make, I can only imagine them internally falling deeply (yet, naively) in love with one another.

I couldn't help myself from smiling at the moment Carlyle realizes his love for Ardita. She daringly dove off the side of a cliff into the sea, "and it was with his glad sigh of relief when her light watery laughter curled up the side of the cliff and into his anxious ears that he knew he loved her." Upon reading this sentence, I realized Ardita's emergence from the sea was my re-emergence from my sea of homework. How is it that one sentence could enchant me the way it did? The magnificence of their naive love did not end there.

I won't spoil the story with my excited reflection of the short story, though I may have already done that. My intention was not to summarize or analyze the story, but to express its effect on me. As I mentioned, reading The Offshore Pirate was like coming up for a breath of fresh air and I needed to write about this re-emergence. It feels like decades since I've written on this blog. Consider this as my official re-emergence as well. Schoolwork is my priority, but I cannot forget to take time for myself.


Alyssa Tomasic

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