"I’m named for the secret, vital core of a ship. ‘Ballast’ is the weight down in the deep of you that keeps a vessel upright in the water. Oh, the cargo you carry will do it for a while, or even the heft of a crew, mates and mettles, if you love them enough. But a ship’s not a ship till she’s got ballast of her own. Down in the belly, a big massy mess of rope and wood and hard tack and love letters and harpoons and old lemons. Anything that ever fascinated the ship, made it sail true, patched it or broke it, anything the ship loved or longed for, anything it could use. Bo’sun gets in a fistfight with a deck hand over a missing cannonball and they bloody each other up some, but that ball’s just circled down into the baby ballast. Some’ll tell you a ship’s not born till she gets a name or has a bottle of wanderwhiskey broke over her bow, but it’s not so. Without ballast, she’d just wood. It all just sort of sinks down and jumbles up together into something hot and heavy inside you, and the weight of everything you ever wanted in the world will keep you steady even when the worst winds blow."
— The Girl Who Sailed Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (ARC), Catherynne M. Valente