The Journey: Diana Nyad, Mary Oliver, and Me

That’s Ruby on the left. Mary Oliver loved dogs, and this post needed a photo. I have no idea how Oliver felt about barbecue sauce.

The poet Mary Oliver died on Thursday. I almost hate to admit how much I like her work—not because she isn’t all morose and difficult like poets are supposed to be, but because some people (well, one in particular) misappropriate and befoul her words.
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Nyad, Episode 2 — The Relinquisher

Nyad says that she “relinquished my position as screenwriter of my life story.” Of her Manhattan swim, she once said, “I hereby relinquish my title as the first woman.” But you can’t relinquish something that you don’t have.

I was so diverted by Nyad’s cinematic machinations in the last post that I missed something important. When Diana finally tells us that she’s not writing the screenplay for Nyad: The Motion Picture, she declares:

I relinquished my position as screenwriter of my life story. (Sung, “Diana Nyad…” )

When she got caught in her Manhattan lie back in 2011, she used the same verb:

I hereby relinquish my title as the first woman. (Nyad via the Wayback Machine)

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Nyad: The Motion Picture

For over forty years, Diana Nyad has longed for a biopic devoted to her favorite subject, Diana Nyad.* We know this because, during those forty years, she has made a number of pronouncements about just such an epic.

Another thing we know: the last post ended with “Up next: Not all is lost.”

It’s still true that not all is lost, but this other film-related subject caught my attention. I’ll do my best to return us to our home planet in the next post.

Meanwhile, back at the Annex…

Below is a chronological list—lightly and snarkily annotated—of all of Nyad’s biopic-related pronouncements that I know of. Please let me know if you’ve come across others.
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Diana’s Disappearing Ink

The first pattern that emerged from the “110 Miles…” discussion on the Marathon Swimmers Forum was Diana Nyad’s policy of active un-engagement.

Don’t Rock the Boat

Diana and/or her handlers must have calculated that their boat already rode so low in the water that any movement might swamp it. So Diana either does not engage with skeptics; or, when she momentarily forgets herself and does engage, she quickly erases the evidence, pretends nothing happened, and hopes that the boat stops rocking.

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New York Herald Tribune Archive Holds Nyad-related Gems

Giving Aris Nyad the benefit of the doubt leads to Herald Tribune treasures.

“Diana Nyad’s Unspeakable Lie, part 2” included a link to a 1942 Montreal Gazette article, “Young Greek Flier Held in New York Jail.” That flier was “a handsome, aristocratic-looking young fellow” named Aristotle Nyad. According to the article, Mr. Nyad…

…had with him a clipping from the New York Tribune giving an interview as one of the many young Greeks who had stormed their consulate in New York when Greece was invaded, hoping they could get back so they could fight for their country.

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¡Adelante!

A re-reading of “110 miles, 53 hours: Questions for Diana Nyad” sends the Annex swimming off in a new direction.

¡Feliz año nuevo!

“G Is For Gato,” by Dora Hathazi Mendes. Via Karavella Atelier.

I love the sound of Spanish, the music of it, the way so many words end by flowing out of vowels rather than by crashing into consonants: gato vs. cat, for instance, or perro vs. dog, calle vs. street, etc.

I don’t know enough Spanish, though, to converse in it beyond the level of un niño who has just turned three.

do know a thing or two about Diana Nyad.  She is a con artist and a fraud, and she will lie about anything. The last two Annex posts leave no doubt about that.

So just one task remains: proving that Nyad did not swim all the way from Cuba to Florida under her own power.
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