Water’s Edge

“I was robbed at gunpoint in 2006 and went into an emotional tailspin,” says author Justin Hocking about the impetus for his memoir, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld. In response, he embarked on late-night treks from his home in New York City to Rockaway Beach to surf in the dark. When he was not risking his life riding the moonlit waves, he was fixating on Herman Melville and Moby-Dick, both of which became the central threads of his book.

“There are endless ways to read and interpret Moby-Dick, but I’m interested in the novel as a kind of archetypal guidebook for surviving the night sea journeys — or dark nights of the soul — that we all encounter at various points in our lives,” he says. “Looking back, I realize I was in the midst of my own night sea journey. This dark voyage is what comprises the memoir’s core trajectory.”

The book includes “relevant digressions about the history of surfing, my seafaring uncle’s harrowing escape from Scientology, and the stories of other Melville-obsessed artists, like Jean Michel Basquiat, Junot Diaz and Jackson Pollock,” Hocking adds. He’ll read from it tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue; for more information, go to tatteredcover.com or call 303-322-7727.
Wed., April 2, 7:30 p.m., 2014

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris