Friday, 19 March 2010

Splash by Laurel Blossom

'Years ago, not long out of college, I dated a young Floridian who had been a high school swimming champion She kept her trophies in her room - dozens of tiny dime-sized medals hanging from thin ribbons. At the time, I was struck with how minuscule the rewards were for such an exacting sport - the innumerable hours spent training, lap after lap, in that strange, surreal chlorine-scented world with little to see except the tile patterns below. I once asked her if she's ever discovered anything on the bottom. She said she had - a shoe, a pie plate, plastic spoons and once a sodden rag doll - but not enough to make up for the monotony....'

So begins George Plimpton in his preface to Splash - Great Writing About Swimming which plopped through my letterbox today.
I stumbled upon this exciting anthology while trawling about the internet. It combines two of my very favourite things, writing and swimming. American poet Laurel Blossom has compiled a wide-ranging  and very satisfying collection which I can't wait to dive into! There are are 48 pieces of prose and poetry - here's a sample:

  • John Cheever - The Swimmer
  • Dawn Fraser with Harry Gordon - The Night of the Big, Big Minute
  • A E Housman - Tarry, delight
  • Annette Kellerman - from How to Swim
  • Doris Lessing - Through the Tunnel
  • Rohinton Mistry - Swimming Lessons
  • Diana Nyad - Mind over Water
  • Sharon Olds - The Swimmer
  • Anne Sexton - The Nude Swim
  • John Updike - Lifeguard                      need I say more?!

Well, yes! I ordered the book from Amazon Marketplace - a great place for finding out of print and secondhand books. The seller was The book cost 1 penny plus £2.75 postage and packaging! It is absolutely pristine - hardback, purple binding, withdrawn from stock at Southampton University. All the labels are intact and show it was never borrowed, not even once! It even smells wonderful, like library stacks! Mmmmmm! Can you hear how excited I am? What a bargain - I'd thoroughly recommend it to all you swimmers and armchair swimmers out there. Must rush off now to start reading and communing with my lovely new book!
I might share some gems with you once I get going.

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