“…the Neverland is always more or less an island, with astonishing splashes of colour here and there, and coral reefs and rakish-looking craft in the offing, and savages and lonely lairs, and gnomes who are mostly tailors, and caves through which a river runs, and princes with six elder brothers, and a hut fast going to decay, and one very small old lady with a hooked nose.”
Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie
My husband has asked about the name of the blog.
When I was a child, we had a lot of wonderful story tapes. My favourite was Peter Pan. I could recite the first several minutes of the book for years (using the English accent of the woman reading on the tape). I probably still can. The passage above is my favourite, even though I had no idea what a “rakish looking craft” was, nor where “the offing” might be. It danced around in my imagination for years. It still does. I know now, finally, what it means, but it took some looking into and as Humpty Dumpty says, “when I use a phrase, it means exactly what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less”.
Of course, a craft is a boat. It’s also something that can be made. And I’m crazy about making things. These days, knitting is my favourite way to craft, though I’m very keen to continue learning to sew. Also, riding in boats is pretty great too.
And to be rakish! I’m sure J.M. Barrie meant “having a streamlined appearance”, as this is the nautical term. Our family has become interested in minimalism in the last year and we’ve been focusing on streamlining our lives, so this definition appeals to me immediately, but I love the other one too: “dashingly or sportingly stylish”. An aspirational little phrase. Personal style has always alluded me, but I certainly love making beautiful things.
“In the offing” is a phrase I’m familiar with as an adult reader (coming up, imminent, pending, etc.) but this isn’t what Barrie means. In this passage, it is “the more distant part of the sea seen from the shore, beyond anchoring ground”. I could read that phrase 100 times and it would still make me feel quite dreamy.
So here we are, a rakish-looking craft. Streamlined and sportingly stylish, somewhere just ahead in the distant part of the sea, and this blog is a view from the shore, or maybe of it.
Writing. Phew. This takes an excruciatingly long time and requires quite a large degree of courage and vulnerability. I’m not sure I intend to continue being quite so direct about what I’m on about here. I probably should have just answered, “oh it’s basically just a pun slash one of my favourite lines from Peter Pan”. Ugh. Here’s a little dinosaur in case that’s really why you’re here.