At the age of 25, having grown up in Kansas, I had never seen the ocean. Once I had committed myself to moving to France, the choice of making the passage on a coal freighter became evident. It was the same price as a plane ticket. Plus there were no excess baggage charges so I could bring my bicycle and the equipment necessary to process my film.
When I told William Burroughs of this he instructed me to take a dense book, "A Russian novel, Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. Read 'The Brothers Karamozov'."
I awoke before dawn, as the Dora Oldendorff was sailing east out of U. S. territorial waters on the second day of the trip, and read this:
"A true realist, if he is an unbeliever, will always find the strength and the ability not to believe in a miracle, and if faced with a miracle as an undeniable fact, he will sooner disbelieve his own senses than admit the fact. And if he does admit it, he will admit it as a natural fact hitherto unknown to him. In a realist faith does not arise from a miracle, but the miracle from faith." -Fyodor Dostoyevsky, from "The Brothers Karamozov"
A rainbow in sea spray