This Model is Unsupported, by Charlotte Kaufman

Charlotte and Cora Kaufman. Sailing across the Sea of Cortez from La Paz to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit. December 2013.

Charlotte and Cora Kaufman. Sailing across the Sea of Cortez from La Paz to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit. December 2013.

This Model is Unsupported, by Charlotte Kaufman

I plugged the Kindle into my laptop today and it didn’t register as a device on my computer. There were my Documents, my Downloads, my Pictures, the Google Drive back up, but no Kindle.

I restarted my laptop. I unplugged the Kindle. Turned it on, then off. Tried again.

No Kindle.

I could feel the hurt welling up. A pebble transforming into a lump and then a stone. An inability to swallow down the pain of loss and my first thought was WRITE. Write about the little Kindle that could. Don’t cry until you’re writing, I told myself. That’s the best way for you to let tears fall freely. Like when you wrote about saying goodbye to Rebel Heart. To the feeling of the Sunbrella stretched taut on the dodger under your hands. Her tall, white mast, your family’s haven, your daughters’ only home since birth. Of the terrifying feeling of jumping from ships and the height of those waves. Certain death a fraction of an inch away. Wrong jump? Guess incorrectly? A cracked ribcage between two hulls.

Everything rushing in those moments of rescue. The Pararescuemen calling for me.  Good men with good intentions. Of my refusing to rush. (I wouldn’t have refused if I had been any younger. A younger Charlotte would have obeyed). But I refused. I stopped and said thank you to Rebel Heart. I sent all my love and support to her before she embarked on her next and final journey into the deeps. Underwater to live. The whole of her consumed by barnacles, and crabs, and slithering creatures of the deep. And she kept us safe and we were sinking her.

Amazon said that the Kindle was over 10-years-old and that they no longer provide updates or backups for my model. “Would you like to take this credit towards a new version? This one will be unsupported moving forward.”


Unsupported like me when I left my parents’ home at 16.

Unsupported like parenting in America.

I chose the unsupported model.

The Kindle still worked. I could read each page except for the top right sentence. A relic of when Cora had dropped it, shattering the pixels on that portion of the screen. The pink, rubber cover, forever coated in a fine dusting of Baja sand that I could never get clean again. The scratches on the bottom left corner from … what? Who knew? Were they from surviving the rescue? From being tossed from one ship to another ship with the bag that held our Kindles, our laptops, and our passports? From being hoisted into the air along the side of a battleship, the great ship listing in the swell and buffeted by the wind of the approaching squall, my knuckles white in terror as the tiny RHIB bucked forward and sent us toppling against the rubber sides.

I knew it would die one day. An unsupported model. I just thought it wouldn’t be today. Not today. Not any day. Please, not ever. We have so little that survived. Give me one thing that survived. One tiny memento. The Kindle I rested on my pregnant belly, while I lay in bed miserable, sick, and sometimes suicidal during my first pregnancy. The Kindle where I uploaded and read an early draft of my friend’s first book. The Kindle I slipped under the pillows and out of the way when Eric and I made love in the V-berth.

‘At least the four of you survived.’

‘That’s what really matters.’

Of course it is.

But I can hold both truths at the same time. The gratitude that my family is whole after a rescue at sea, and the grieving of a truncated dream. Of the impossibility of ever saying goodbye with ritual, with respect. There was only the one moment of rushing, when I disobeyed, (thank god for growing older and growing more defiant). For that one tiny moment when the world grew quiet and I told her thank you before she sank below the surface, unsupported.

#TheThingAboutThings #RebelHeartBook #RebelHeart #KidsOnBoats #WomenWhoSail #CharlotteKaufman #IAlreadyMissMyKindle #AmazonKindle #ItsTheLittleThings

 ::::::::::::::::::::: T H E   S T O R Y :::::::::::::::::::::

If this is the first time you are reading my writing or learning about the rescue at sea that happened to us, here’s the backstory. In March 2014, we set sail from Puerto Vallarta with our two young daughters on our sailboat, Rebel Heart. During the passage, our 13 month old fell ill. A cascading series of events resulted in our calling for help. Activating our rescue beacon meant saving our baby and also losing our boat (and only home). We hit the button and survived a dramatic at-sea rescue but returned to international media criticism about our parenting. While the world debated our child rearing choices, I wrestled with the trauma of the rescue, the loss of our dream, and whether or not my relationship was strong enough to survive.

You can read my recent article in HuffPost about the events and my thoughts here:

 ::::::::::::::::::::: T H E   B O O K :::::::::::::::::::::

I have recently completed my manuscript about the events described above and am represented by Aemilia Phillips and David Patterson at Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency. For updates on my upcoming memoir, you can follow me on social media and sign up for my email newsletter.

More on Instagram

Rebel Heart | Parent Shaming | Kids On Boats ~ My Essay on HuffPost

My essay is up today on HuffPost. A piece I wrote in response to Caroline Van Hemert's recent article in The New York Times about sailing Alaska's Inside Passage with toddlers as crew.

During our rescue at sea five years ago, the media and social media had a lot to say about mine and Eric's parenting. It took me five years to write the manuscript for my book about what happened aboard Rebel Heart and I'm ready to share our story and add my own voice to the narrative this time.

Please feel free to share widely and broadly. (Social sharing links below).

"...modern parenting is a lose-lose scenario, where families who choose to raise children in the supposed safety of suburbia face criticism for overprotecting their offspring, and parents like Van Hemert and myself are accused of reckless endangerment. Our culture has decided to judge parents no matter what..

My husband and I are not bad parents, and I am not here to apologize. We also aren’t “good parents who made a bad choice” by sailing with our kids. Like Van Hemert and most sailing families, we were and are deeply engaged in our parenting. We were well-prepared and experienced sailors, who had a vessel full of redundancies, and when a cascading series of events took out all of our options save one, that fail-safe worked...

I am calling for an end to the sanctimonious handwringing about children’s safety when it comes to lifestyles different than our own. Enough with the false proclamations that mainstream American life is the default and safest option for raising families."

Originally posted on my Facebook:

More on Instagram

Last Post of 2018

1 (2).jpeg

I drove down to San Diego on Christmas to stay alone for a few days at a friend’s house who is out of town. I’ve been doing my regular day job and working on edits. My agent already finished the line-by-line edit of part 1 and I just sent back all corrections to her. Now I wait for her work on parts 2 and 3 and I’ll send my responses back to her as soon as I possibly can.

I’m staying at my friend, Katie’s house. She is a patron too. Hello, Katie! She has a darling dog named Jake, and I take him on frequent walks when I need to stretch my legs and give my recovering hand a break. 

Walking Jake yesterday in Clairemont, a neighborhood in San Diego.

Walking Jake yesterday in Clairemont, a neighborhood in San Diego.

So it’s been a couple of days since I’ve talked to Eric. When I go away I really go away. Eric and I can go for 2, 3, 5, sometimes 6 or 7 days without talking when we travel. We both get ‘in the zone’ and I know that might seem weird to some, but it works for us. The whole point of leaving is to focus on whatever we’re doing. Eventually, we start to miss each other and the kids. 

Today on one of my Jake walks I called Eric and he asked me how it was going. And I said, “I’m so close. So close to being done.” 

He said, “It does feel like that for you. You’ve been working your ass off.”

And I have. Writing a book is a ton of work but I’m rounding a corner now and it’s exciting. The edits are small changes. 

- Fix a sentence here. 

- Double check a fact there. 

- Add a little bit more feeling as opposed to relying on metaphor in one spot.

- Smooth out a transition in another.

This is new and it’s exhilarating because it means some of the hardest parts of this step, the edit letter step (which can sometimes be multiple edit letters) is coming to completion. I’ll keep you posted along the way, but I can feel the beginning of 2019 just around the corner and we’ll be heading into a next step of getting the Rebel Heart book published soon.

Thanks for your patience. Thanks for your support. 

Have a fantastic New Year. See you in 2019!!

All the best,


More on Instagram