20 April 2011



A metaphor for life? Sometimes, in a way.

Mishka Shubaly's short ebook, Shipwrecked, is hilarious, insightful, a little worrisome, and filled with empathy.

Shubaly is in a state of despair. His best friend died of a heroin overdose, while he was indulging in drinking too much. Blaming himself in a rather difficult situation, he decides to deal with the situation by drinking more and serving as a low-level member of a sailing trip. He messes up (He's not the strongest member of the crew.), almost dies (It's the 'Year of the Shark,'), continues to inebriate himself - but ultimately redeems himself.

I had just graduated college, my friend Jacob had shot his final speedball and died on his kitchen floor, and my drinking was spiraling out of control. The Year of The Shark struck me perversely as a good time to bail on a promising internship and abandon New York to go sailing in the Caribbean.

On the boat, Shubaly finds distancing himself from his problems helps - but ultimately, they're still there. A marlin's life that Subaly has caught is saved when it reminds him of Jacob. You know how when someone dies, every little thing makes you think of them? I remember bawling in the MoMA a month or so after my grandfather died because I saw a little old man using a cane. My grandfather used a cane towards the end. Anyway, this is what Mishka is going through. His way of processing the death is to work as hard as he can, drink as hard as he can, and distance himself.

  After the boat runs aground, Mishka convinces the captain (whose responsibility it should be) that he should go for help. He argues he's younger, stronger, doesn't have Parkinson's (the captain does) or a family, but most memorable - that he's expendable.

Realizing that you're expendable is a mature thing to realize. Most people think they're so important, that they're going to live forever, that their invincible. They deny their very mortality, the very fact that they don't impact the universe very much, the very fact that they're just not that important. This is a huge turning point for Mishka.

Survival is what comes next...one might argue, "It's merely a day," and as I'm currently reading Endurance about Shackleton's journey across Antarctica, and that is months, our world, our society is all about the now, the instant. For example, not having my phone on me for mere hours - chaos. We need everything now. So I think this is HUGE.

Shubaly is an ultrarunner today - you can see this as his first ultra. And when you think about the time this is - around 30 miles - you realize, that's how an ultra is. And so many things happen. And it feels like an eternity has passed even when it's only hours.

And he's funny...I love this section:

"I had changed into cut-offs the night before when my pants got soaked, but these were still damp and chafing, so I took them off and put them in my backpack to cushion me from the gallon of water digging into my back. My boxers were damp too, and chafed the insides of my thighs, so I hiked them up and rolled the waistband over. My running shoes had gotten soaked getting off the boat, so I had tied the laces together and hung them over my shoulder to dry. I had salvaged a dry pair of white cotton socks from the boat, which I wore under a pair of hopelessly nerdy sandals my momรข€™s boyfriend had bought for me. My shirt was a white long-sleeve button down, to protect me from the sun. I realized that I had to make it to town because if they found my body here, dressed like this, they would think I was just the biggest dork."

 Great changes happen, but he ultimately remains the same - because you are always the same inside.

I loved the start, and especially the ending.

Highly recommended!!!

Get it here and read it on your phone, eReader, or computer. This short read (around 30 pages) is only $1.99!

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