In My Watery Self: An Aquatic Memoir, author/scientist Stephen Spotte traces a fascinating trail through a life that began in West Virgina coal camps, drifted through reckless bohemian times of countercultural indulgence in Beach Haven, New Jersey, and led to a career as a highly-respected marine biologist.
Together, these stories form a view not just of one man's life, but that of a generation that often refused to take a direct path to the workplace, insisting instead on a winding unveiling of true self-realization, to achieve previously-unimagined outcomes.
For Spotte, the key was water: His years of beach living led to a self-initiated study of literature and the sea.
He eventually returned to college and received his training as a marine biologist, and discovered, through his singular voice, a wet and occasionally very weird perspective on the world.
His writing is engrossing throughout, the stories he shares--such as his stint as curator of the New York Aquarium at Coney Island at the tail end of the hippie era--are compelling and thoroughly enjoyable as he elevates the people and situations he encounters to mythical levels, blending empirical observation with literary prose.