Eventually, I began writing, sparingly at first. Then soon I was writing four hours a day, five days a week, when not at sea. I began to send out my articles. “Homing pigeons” my wife called them, because they always came straight back home. Then one day, a thin envelope arrived, too thin to contain the original manuscript. I stared at it for a long, long while. Then I made a jerky move to open it, and stopped. I stared at it some more, then finally opened it. Forty dollars. I snapped it closed quick, as if the text might escape. I blinked. I took a deep breath. I shivered. I made sure no one was watching. Then all those years of frustration came gushing out of me, like a broken dam. I cried.