Working, In More Ways Than One

I work on an oil rig, specifically the West Sirius, owned by Seadrill and under contract to BP. On April 20, 2010, we were getting ready to begin drilling a well for Exxon-Mobil when the Deepwater Horizon caught fire and sank. The government instituted a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while they investigated the cause of the disaster and instituted new policies to help to prevent a recurrence.

We never did drill that well for Exxon. They cancelled their sublease and instead we spent a few months out at the Horizon spill site helping to get the well under control and clean up the oil. Since then, for about the last year, we’ve been patiently waiting for the moratorium to lift. It’s given us plenty of time to get a lot of upgrades done that we don’t normally have time to do. That, and get into compliance with all the new post-Horizon regulations.

Now we’re finally on the eve of going back to drilling. We’re currently on station at Keathley Canyon block 292, about 250 miles southwest of New Orleans and 200 miles off the Louisiana coast. We’re drilling in the Kaskida oil field. We drilled the first well out here in 2009 for Devon (it was the well the rig was drilling when I first arrived onboard), now we’re going to drill four or five more wells, each taking the better part of a year. The Gulf is about to get seriously busy over the next few years. It’s nice to have some job security.

On the opposite end of my interests, I’m seriously considering taking part in National Novel Writing Month this year, or as it’s known online, NaNoWriMo, or simply Nano. In years past, I never got the point of it. It seemed like a waste of time to just basically write as fast as you can for a whole month. Surely the result would be unintelligible gibberish, a mish-mash of half-baked ideas, cardboard characters, and stilted dialogue, right?

Then last week I read an article by George Angus titled, “NaNoWriMo: The Right Rite of Passage for Writers” and I changed my mind. I’ve had a few ideas for novella-length stories floating around for several years now but none of them ever really developed past the general outline stage. I think it’s time I try to squeeze one of them and see what it’s really made of.

I’ve no doubt it’s going to be crap, at least at first. I tend to take my time with my short stories, writing for a bit before stopping and letting the ideas percolate in my head, going back and editing a bit, then writing some more. To complete Nano, you have to write an average of 1,667 words a day, every day for 30 days. I don’t have time to edit, and I think that’s the point. Screw editing, just get the words on the screen and let the ideas flow.

So, here’s to a month of fluid ideas.