Spinning Confidence (draft)

The confidence of a diver impresses me. To stand straight, cold and exposed on the unstable end of a spring platform, completely aware of position – height from bellyflop, jump distance from concussion, depth of concussion absorbant – it is like the mark of a young adult hero [1]. And those teens in long boardshorts, with hair sprouting on their self-confident [2] chests, they can do flips and gainers, spinning on wild axes, resolving in tandem to pierce the unforgiving water tension. One day they will be olympians, and one day I will master the simple dive.

But a public pool is a place of unforgiving audiences, judgemental girls in bikinis, and smirking mop-heads. The lake is my sanctuary. And this week at Battle Lake, centered just inside the buoyed swimming zone, an inflatable trampoline bobbed me quiet encouragement [3].

I skipped straight to the frontflip and, almost immediately, achieved a full rotation[4] I forgot all roadblocks of the swimming pool and practiced my flip until the sun burt the beachfront waves, then waded in.

The next evening, I remembered my new obsession [5], tested the water, but found it to be strikingly cold, and decided to soak in the silence from a half submerged rock.

My wandering mind concluded that I could, very reasonably, attempt and succeed an [6] on-land frontfilp. I had gained the rotation necessary out on the water, though I had to admit, I never stuck a landing. The tension of the trampoline on water must have been hardly greater than [7] the sand. If I were to flop, I would be cushioned; scraped by the fine rocks, but relatively unhurt. If I succeeded, I would be the victor of my own sneering challenge. I had to show myself the miracle-working push of relaxed assurity [8].

Smoothing a section of loosely kicked, shaded beach, I mentally prepared for the spectacle, running successful replays and congratulatory self-talk through my attentive, believing consciousness, and perpetually hushing my ignorant subprocesses. I dealt with back problems in the previous track season, but believed the soft sand could support me. Then the sun reminded me of the immanent commercial break. I had to act before my audience abandoned hope [9].

Before I could warn myself, I found my vision pointed skyward, a pulsing wave of water-like ripples outlining my rocking cranium. And my body was hidden beneath the earth. Bewildered and feeling ridiculous, I let out a single nasal remark and smiled.


[1] –> “In the average city pool diver, I see a collected young hero, rigid and chilled on the unstable end of the spring platform.”

[2] –> “taut”

[3] –> “across the ancient waters of my adolescence. Battle Lake was a familiar friend to me, never forgetting rough feet padding across its wood chip path from cabin to beach, or shallow, insistent kayak strokes and rippling tails, arcing around its shore. Even when I forget, the lake remembers my motives, outburst, joys, goals.”

[4] –> “Claiming a memory for my own, I rushed from hesitant diving dreams to tumbling abandon. I hungrily pushed my rotation farther and farther, evolving quickly from the summersault. Suddenly, I was around and on my feet.”

[5] –> “occupation”

[6] –> “progress to the”

[7] –> “comprable to”

[8] –> “buoyancy of faith”

[9] –> “the quickly setting sun gently chided, ‘don’t think, just do.'”

Notes on Revision:

I realized the words ‘absorbant’ and ‘assurity’ do not exist, so I removed them. I tried to trim my writing to the core substance of description and emotion, and threw away the unnecessary verbiage. With that, I added sentences for transition, where the picture of readers’ understanding could be a bit fuzzy. I also refined my word choice and tried to make this memoir more unique and personal.